Patients and doctors should know that the following factors increase pulmonary complications: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, age older than 60 years, American Society of Anesthesiologists risk score of II or higher, dependence on others for daily function, congestive heart failure, and serum albumin level less than 3.5 g/dL (<35 g/L). They should also be aware that pulmonary complications are common with abdominal, thoracic, neurologic, head and neck, vascular, and aortic aneurysm repair surgery, as well as any surgery lasting more than 3 hours, performed as an emergency, or involving general anesthesia. Patients with any of these factors should receive interventions that effectively reduce pulmonary complications, including deep breathing exercises after surgery and selective use of a nasogastric tube after abdominal surgery, if needed, to relieve nausea, vomiting, and abdominal distention. Doctors should not routinely use presurgery tests of lung function or chest radiography to predict the risk for pulmonary complications. In addition, doctors should not use right-heart catheterization (special devices to measure heart and lung pressures) or artificial nutrition to reduce the chances of pulmonary complications.