Cardiac Bypass and Pneumonia

Pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, is a potentially fatal complication that can happen following coronary artery bypass grafting -- or CABG for short. Simply because you aren't breathing at your optimum level throughout and after coronary heart surgery, germs have the chance to grow in your lungs, leading to an infection. Pneumonia following CABG affects only a little percentage of individuals -- numerous research have typically noted prices between less than one percent to about three percent -- but the implications are potentially serious, so avoidance is key. Postoperative pneumonia might need you to remain in the clinic for a lengthier time to obtain extra medical therapy, generally antibiotic therapy.

Danger Factors

Existing elements this kind of as gender, history of cigarette smoking and chronic illnesses like diabetic issues and persistent obstructive pulmonary disease can place you at a greater risk of creating pneumonia after CABG. For example, in a 2012 research of more than one,000 individuals, ladies had been much more than 3 times more likely than men to create pneumonia after surgical procedure. Elements related to the surgery by itself can also affect your danger. For example, if you have an unexpected emergency CABG, are on a ventilator for more than 12 hrs or have numerous blood transfusions, your odds of creating pneumonia improve.

Prevention Measures

Prior to having surgery, you can consider actions to increase your body's defenses towards pneumonia. For example, quitting cigarette smoking can be useful in boosting your respiratory defenses. You can also inquire your doctor about what respiration workouts might help stop pneumonia. A 2006 study in the "Journal of the American Medical Association" in contrast 139 patients who participated in a breathing physical exercise plan before cardiac bypass with 137 who did not. The scientists then looked at how numerous created pneumonia. The individuals who participated in the breathing exercise plan were about sixty % less likely to create pneumonia. Other prevention actions are likely to take place in the clinic: You may receive a short program of antibiotics or use an antiseptic mouthwash to decrease pneumonia-creating germs. Following surgery, operating with a respiratory therapist to restore your respiration, obtaining sufficient nutrition and moving about as tolerated will assist reduce your danger.


Although pneumonia following CABG happens infrequently, it is associated with a poor prognosis. A 2009 research of 719 CABG individuals in "The Coronary heart Surgical procedure Discussion board" noted that 4 of the 11 patients who created postoperative pneumonia -- more than a 3rd -- died within thirty days, whereas none of the 708 patients without pneumonia died in that same time period. In 2010, a study in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy noted that despite receiving therapy with antibiotics, 29 of the 82 patients with pneumonia died. Even though this may sound like a shocking quantity, particular strains of germs are extremely resistant to antibiotics and will not respond to treatment.


Simply because some degree of breathing difficulty and upper body discomfort can be anticipated after CABG, health care providers should frequently examine you for other signs of pneumonia. You will be carefully monitored for fever and elevations in your white blood cell rely that may indicate an infection. You also may endure chest x-ray or CAT scan of your chest to assess for the presentation of pneumonia. Postoperative pneumonia may occur up to two weeks subsequent surgery, when you are already house from the clinic. Report any new or worsening symptoms to your health treatment provider immediately.