A pneumonia follow coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is the most common hospital acquired infection associated with this procedure. Knowing how to assess and predict the risk of pneumonia in patients about to undergo CABG surgery could help doctors use early interventions to help reduce the risk. Being able to estimate the risk for patients has been diffi cult, in part, because most of the studies on the subject are a decade out of date. I should indicate that the percentage of patients getting post CABG pneumonia is fairly small but for those who get post CABG pneumonia it can be life threatening. To the rescue comes a medical student and associates at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. They looked at many risk factors and the final model contains 17 factors that raise the risk of post CABG pneumonia.
Some of the factors identified to raise the risk of pneumonia include: age, the presence of underlying lung disease, the need for oxygen therapy, peripheral vascular disease, and diabetes. An elevated white blood cell count just prior to surgery seems particularly problematic and may refl ect an early infection, even prior to the surgery, and unless the procedure is urgent the patient can be treated prior to the surgery. These risk factors, along with others, seem like common sense. When the seventeen factors are lumped together they defi ne a risk level that physicians can recognize as mild, moderate or severe, with early treatment leading to reduced hospital morbidity and mortality