The Particulars: Some of the most common postsurgical complications involve the respiratory system and include pneumonia and ventilator dependency. Evidence is lacking on standard care for postoperative pulmonary complications.

Data Breakdown: Researchers developed and tested a simple, inexpensive program called “I COUGH,” an acronym for incentive spirometry, coughing/deep breathing, oral care, understanding patient and staff education, getting out of bed at least three times daily, and head of bed elevation. When comparing before and after implementation of I COUGH, a reduced likelihood of pneumonia and unplanned intubation was observed among surgical patients. Venous thromboembolic complications also declined.

Take Home Pearl: The I COUGH pulmonary care program appears to be a simple, inexpensive intervention to reduce the likelihood of postsurgical respiratory complications.

Source: ACS 2012 Press Release