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Pneumonia Most Common Infection After Heart Surgery
Nov. 30 , 2011 

The study also revealed that most infections occur about two weeks after surgery, not one week as physicians previously thought. "It's not what we expected to find," said Michael A. Acker, M.D., the study's lead researcher and professor and chief of cardiovascular surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pa. In abstract 12247, researchers analyzed more than 5,100 patients in a heart surgery registry. Patients, average age 64, were treated at nine U.S. academic medical centers and one Canadian center. The median time to major infection was 14 days after heart surgeries. Forty-three percent of all major infections occurred after hospital discharge. "Half of these patients had no evidence of infection before they were discharged from the hospital," Acker said. "Then they had to return because of the new infection. One implication is that patients must be followed more closely after discharge." In this study, which excluded patients who were infected before surgery, researchers found 761 infections: 300 were classified as major infections (occurring in 6 percent of patients) and 461 were minor (in 8.1 percent of patients). Of the major infections: * Pneumonia, infection of the lungs, occurred in 2.4 percent of all patients. * C. difficile colitis, an intestinal infection, occurred in 1.0 percent. * Bloodstream infections occurred in 1.1 percent.

* Deep-incision surgical site infections occurred in 0.5 percent. Minor infections included urinary tract and superficial incision site infections. The most commonly performed procedures were isolated coronary artery bypass graft and aortic and mitral valve surgeries. Seventy-four percent were elective surgeries and 26 percent were non-elective or emergency...
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