Postoperative pulmonary complications play an important role in the risk for patients undergoing noncardiothoracic surgery. Postoperative pulmonary complications are as prevalent as cardiac complications and contribute similarly to morbidity, mortality, and length of stay. Pulmonary complications may even be more likely than cardiac complications to predict long-term mortality after surgery. The purpose of this guideline is to provide guidance to clinicians on clinical and laboratory predictors of perioperative pulmonary risk before noncardiothoracic surgery. It also evaluates strategies to reduce the perioperative pulmonary risk and focuses on atelectasis, pneumonia, and respiratory failure. The target audience for this guideline is general internists or other clinicians involved in perioperative management of surgical patients. The target patient population is all adult persons undergoing noncardiothoracic surgery.
*This paper, written by Amir Qaseem, MD, PhD, MHA; Vincenza Snow, MD; Nick Fitterman, MD; E. Rodney Hornbake, MD; Valerie A. Lawrence, MD; Gerald W. Smetana, MD; Kevin Weiss, MD, MPH; and Douglas K. Owens, MD, MS, was developed for the Clinical Efficacy Assessment Subcommittee of the American College of Physicians (ACP): Douglas K. Owens, MD, MS (Chair); Mark Aronson, MD; Patricia Barry, MD, MPH; Donald E. Casey Jr., MD, MPH, MBA; J. Thomas Cross Jr., MD, MPH; Nick Fitterman, MD; E. Rodney Hornbake, MD; Katherine D. Sherif, MD; and Kevin B. Weiss, MD, MPH (Immediate Past Chair). Approved by the ACP Board of Regents on 21 January 2006.