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A study by Michael R. Cassidy, MD, and colleagues at the Boston University Medical Center, suggests that I COUGH, a standardized postoperative care program emphasizing patient education, early mobilization, and pulmonary interventions, is associated with reduced risk of post-operative pneumonia and unplanned intubation.
Researchers conducted a study of all patients who underwent general or vascular surgery at their institution during a 1-year period and compared the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) risk-adjusted pulmonary outcomes before and after implementing I COUGH.
Before implementation of I COUGH, incidence of postoperative pneumonia was 2.6 percent, but decreased to 1.6 percent after implementation. The incidence of unplanned intubations was 2.0 percent before I COUGH and 1.2 percent after I COUGH.
We are eager to monitor our outcomes over a longer period, and we are stimulated by the possibility that postoperative complications may be diminished by adherence to simple, inexpensive, easily performed patient care strategies, the authors conclude.
Reference: JAMA Surg. Published online June 5, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2013.358