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If youve returned home from surgery and youre concerned that you might have developed postoperative pneumonia, you can turn to DispatchHealth for treatment. Were a trusted mobile healthcare provider, and we proudly offer in-home care for pneumonia and a wide array of other conditions affecting seniors and the rest of the population. Receiving treatment in the comfort of your own home minimizes your risk of exposure to germs and eliminates the stress of having to travel to a providers office when youre already not feeling well. In addition to being convenient, our services are also affordable, with many patients paying approximately the same amount that they would at an urgent care clinic. And to ensure that your doctors remain updated on your condition, we can provide them with a detailed report of our services.
Requesting a visit from DispatchHealth is easyyou can do it by simply calling us, downloading our mobile app, or visiting our website. Our skilled team will arrive at your home in a few hours, perform an examination, provide you with a diagnosis, and administer any necessary treatments. In many cases, treatment for postoperative pneumonia involves taking antibiotics, which we can prescribe to you. Contact us today if you have any questions.
How Do You Know If You Have A Post
- Doctors and physiotherapists listen to your chest with a stethoscope. They can hear extra crackles and wheezes.
- If you have an X-ray of the chest, the infection can be seen on the X-ray.
- Blood tests can also show that you have an infection.
- A sample of your sputum can be sent to the lab to try to identify any bacteria which are causing the infection.
- Sometimes the heart rate becomes faster and the blood pressure can fall. These are signs of a serious chest infection.
Can Pneumonia Be Prevented Or Avoided
There are many factors that can raise your risk for developing pneumonia. These include:
People who have any of the following conditions are also at increased risk:
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- sickle cell disease
You can help prevent pneumonia by doing the following:
- Get the flu vaccine each year. People can develop bacterial pneumonia after a case of the flu. You can reduce this risk by getting the yearly flu shot.
- Get the pneumococcal vaccine. This helps prevent pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria.
- Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Dont smoke. Smoking damages your lungs and makes it harder for your body to defend itself from germs and disease. If you smoke, talk to your family doctor about quitting as soon as possible.
- Practice a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables. Exercise regularly. Get plenty of sleep. These things help your immune system stay strong.
- Avoid sick people. Being around people who are sick increases your risk of catching what they have.
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What Causes Bacterial Pneumonia
Bacteria pneumonia is caused by bacteria that works its way into the lungs and then multiplies. It can occur on its own or develop after another illness, like a cold or the flu. People who have a higher risk for pneumonia may:
- have weakened immune systems
- have respiratory diseases
- be recovering from surgery
Doctors classify bacterial pneumonia based on whether it developed inside or outside a hospital.
Community-acquired pneumonia : This is the most common type of bacterial pneumonia. CAP occurs when you get an infection after exposure to bacterial agents outside of a healthcare setting. You can get CAP by breathing in respiratory droplets from coughs or sneezes, or by skin-to-skin contact.
Hospital-acquired pneumonia : HAP occurs within two to three days of exposure to germs in a medical setting, such as a hospital or doctors office. This is also called a nosocomial infection. This type of pneumonia is often more resistant to antibiotics and more is difficult to treat than CAP.
When Should I See My Doctor
Pneumonia can be life-threatening if left untreated, especially for certain at-risk people. You should call your doctor if you have a cough that wont go away, shortness of breath, chest pain, or a fever. You should also call your doctor if you suddenly begin to feel worse after having a cold or the flu.
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What Is The Treatment For Empyema And Lung Infection
The goal of treatment is to cure the infection by removing pus and affected tissue, draining the pleura or lung and reduce symptoms. Treatment methods include:
- Percutaneous thoracentesis can be used if the empyema is very early with just thin fluid. A needle is inserted into the pleural space to drain fluid.
- Thoracostomy: After providing your sedation and injecting a local anesthetic into your ribcage where the fluid is located, your physician will insert a plastic tube into your chest between two ribs, connect the tube to a suction device and remove the fluid. Special medicines can be injected to help the fluid drain.
- Video-assisted thoracic surgery , a minimally invasive procedure that involves the insertion of a thoracoscope and surgical instruments into three small incisions without any spreading of the ribs. This operation is performed under anesthesia in the operating room. The surgeon is able to remove restricting tissue around the lung, insert a drainage tube or apply medicine to reduce fluid accumulation.
- Open decortication, if required, is a surgical procedure to peel away the scar peel that formed on the lung so it can re-expand. This can prevent permanent disability.
Is Fluid On Lungs And Pneumonia After Gallbladder Removed Serious
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What Is The Treatment For A Post
You will require oxygen which is given through a facemask or through small plastic tubes that sit just inside your nostrils . The flow of oxygen can be quite noisy and can make your mouth and nose dry.
You may be given intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration. This will help thin the phlegm in your lungs and make it easier to cough up. A cannula is inserted into a vein in your hand or arm. This is a thin plastic tube which is inserted using a needle, and the needle is then discarded. The cannula will be replaced every 48 hours or so. You will also be encouraged to drink plenty, if your recent operation allows this.
Antibiotics can also be given through the cannula into a vein. For mild infections, tablet antibiotics may be given. Antibiotics kill bacteria or slow down their growth. There are many types and doctors try to choose the one most likely to be effective in each type of infection. Antibiotics have a lot of side effects and your doctors should tell you what to expect when they are prescribed.
Pain from your operation, and other pains such as headache, will be treated with pain relief medicines. It is important that you tell your doctors and nurses about your pain, so they can help you.
Occasionally, the physiotherapist, nurse or doctor will ask you to use oxygen under pressure by breathing through a mouth piece or through a tight fitting mask which covers the mouth and/or nose. This helps to expand the lungs better.
What Does Getting A Chest Infection Mean For My Recovery
If you get a post-operative chest infection, your discharge from hospital will be delayed by days or weeks.
Chest infections can have many complications. Fluid can build up in the lungs or infection can spread in the bloodstream to affect other organs in your body. Specific treatment is given for these on the ward or in the intensive care unit. If you are admitted to the intensive care unit, your recovery is likely to be very slow indeed.
Most people who get a post-operative chest infection go on to make a full recovery without long-term effects.
Some comments from patients:
‘My breathing meant I had to stay in bed, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t eat because when I took the mask off, my breathing got harder and the oxygen levels in my blood dropped very low.’
‘My brother who had near enough the same type of surgery was out in a week but I was in just over a month.’
‘I didn’t expect it to be as bad as it was. I thought the antibiotics into my vein would clear me right up but I had to have three different types and the last one affected my kidneys which made me even sicker.’
Content used with permission from the Royal College of Anaesthetists website: Post-operative chest infection . Copyright for this leaflet is with the Royal College of Anaesthetists.
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What Complications May Occur After Surgery
Sometimes, complications can occur after surgery. These are the most common complications.
Complications may include:
Shock. Shock is a severe drop in blood pressure that causes a dangerous reduction of blood flow throughout the body. Shock may be caused by blood loss, infection, brain injury, or metabolic problems. Treatment may include any or all of the following:
Stopping any blood loss
Helping with breathing
Reducing heat loss
Giving intravenous fluids or blood
Prescribing medicines, for example, to raise blood pressure
Hemorrhage. Hemorrhage means bleeding. Rapid blood loss from the site of surgery, for example, can lead to shock. Treatment of rapid blood loss may include:
IV fluids or blood plasma
More surgery to control the bleeding
Wound infection. When bacteria enter the site of surgery, an infection can result. Infections can delay healing. Wound infections can spread to nearby organs or tissue, or to distant areas through the blood stream. Treatment of wound infections may include:
Surgery or procedure to clean or drain the infected area
Surgery or other procedures
Lung complications. Sometimes, pulmonary complications arise due to lack of deep breathing and coughing exercises within 48 hours of surgery. They may also result from pneumonia or from inhaling food, water, or blood, into the airways. Symptoms may include wheezing, chest pain, fever, and cough .
What Are Empyema And Lung Infection
Empyema is an accumulation of pus in the pleural space, the cavity between the lungs and the inner surface of the chest wall. Infection within the lung can be coughed out. Infection in the pleural space cannot be coughed out and must be drained by a needle or surgery. Sometimes called pyothorax or purulent pleuritis, empyema develops when bacteria invades the pleural space. A pleural effusion or water on the lung can develop into an empyema, a more serious and life-threatening condition. Empyema is typically caused by an infection such as pneumonia or following surgery.
Chronic infections of the lungs from pneumonia, tuberculosis, non-tuberculous mycobacterial infections and influenza as well as fungal and bacterial infections can also be extremely serious, leading to millions of deaths worldwide annually.
The Lung Center at Brigham and Womens Hospital provides specialized evaluations and innovative treatment for people suffering from empyema and lung infections. Our board-certified surgeons perform minimally invasive surgical techniques such as thoracoscopic drainage with decortication using video assisted thoracic surgery , to remove infected tissue and relieve symptoms with minimal discomfort.
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Pneumonia Biggest Problem Following Heart Surgery
You would think that the deep incisions from open heart surgery and the large wound it leaves, including cutting into chest bones etc. would be the biggest problem facing patients post heart surgery. Not so, says new research presented at the American Heart Associations Scientific Sessions 2011. In fact, its pneumonia that is the biggest problem following heart surgery.
The study also showed that most infections occur about two weeks after surgery, not one week as physicians previously thought.
Michael A. Acker, M.D., the studys lead researcher and professor and chief of cardiovascular surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pa. confirmed the unexpected results :
Its not what we expected to find.
Researchers analyzed more than 5,100 patients in a heart surgery registry. Patients, average age 64 years, 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.
Acker continues :
Half of these patients had no evidence of infection before they were discharged from the hospital Then they had to return because of the new infection. One implication is that patients must be followed more closely after discharge.
Acker said :
How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed
Pneumonia can sometimes be hard to diagnose because the symptoms are the same as for a bad cold or flu. If you think it could be pneumonia, you should see your doctor. Your doctor may diagnose pneumonia based on your medical history and the results from a physical exam. He or she will listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. Your doctor may also do some tests, such as a chest X-ray or a blood test. A chest X-ray can show your doctor if you have pneumonia and how widespread the infection is. Blood and mucus tests can help your doctor tell whether bacteria, a virus, or a fungal organism is causing your pneumonia.
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What Is Walking Pneumonia
Walking pneumonia is a mild case of pneumonia. It is often caused by a virus or the mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria. When you have walking pneumonia, your symptoms may not be as severe or last as long as someone who has a more serious case of pneumonia. You probably wont need bed rest or to stay in the hospital when you have walking pneumonia.
Who Is Most Likely To Get A Post
The following factors make a post-operative chest infection more likely:
- Increased age .
- Certain operations: you are more likely to get a chest infection if your operation is on the abdomen or the chest, or when:
- Having major surgery on the head or neck.
- Having a long-term medical condition – for example, diabetes, kidney disease, asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- Being very overweight.
- Being a smoker.
- Having a weakened immune system. This makes a person less able to fight off bacteria or virus infections. This includes people who have a long-term disease of the immune system or who are on medications at home that suppress their immune system, such as steroids.
- Being immobile after surgery, and unable to get out of bed, either due to the surgery or due to a pre-existing problem with moving about.
There is a lot of debate about whether the type of anaesthetic makes any difference. There is some evidence that having a regional anaesthetic , either with or without a general anaesthetic, reduces your risk of a chest infection compared to having a general anaesthetic alone.
You can find out more about these alternatives and whether they may be suitable for you in the Anaesthesia Explained leaflet.
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Everything You Need To Know About Postoperative Pneumonia
Medically reviewed by Dr. Nick Rosen, MD on December 28th, 2020
If youve been scheduled to undergo surgery, you probably want to know everything you can about the procedure, including what you can do to minimize the risk of any potential complications. One of these complications is the development of postoperative pneumonia. In fact, postoperative pneumonia is the third most common complication for all surgical procedures. To help you prepare for your upcoming procedure, weve compiled everything you need to know about this condition.
Why Do Patients Develop Postoperative Pneumonia
The various circumstances surrounding surgery tend to make patients more likely to develop pneumonia. For example, many people who undergo surgery are doing so because theyre sick, and because their immune systems are already compromised due to this illness, theyre more prone to developing an infection. Patients may also be exposed to certain germs in the hospital for the first time, so they havent built up any immunity to them. Plus, although its necessary for many patients to rest following surgery, being unable to move around can prevent these individuals from fully ventilating their lungs, which can cause fluid secretions to accumulate and later become infected.
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What Is The Usual Timeline Of Pneumonia After Surgery
Strictly speaking, pneumonia that is diagnosed within 48 to 72 hours of surgery is considered pneumonia related to the surgery. However, this is only the timeline chosen to help researchers follow strict guidelines so that research on pneumonia after surgery can be done with the same standard across different hospitals. In practice, pneumonia after surgery may not always happen in that exact time period. However, if the timing of your pneumonia is way off, your pneumonia may not be related to surgery. For example, I have admitted patients to the hospital with pneumonia 3 weeks after surgery. In such cases, the pneumonia is not necessarily related to the surgery. Anytime you are hospitalized, you are at an increased risk of picking up drug-resistant organisms. If you get pneumonia 3 weeks after surgery, you are at risk of having hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia, but it is not necessarily related to the surgery.
Watch For Signs Of Infection
You can help stop an infection with a few simple steps. In the first few weeks after surgery, inspect your incision every day for signs of infection.
You should also take your temperature daily. This can help you identify an infection early. It is best to take your temperature at the same time each day.
It is important to identify an infection right away. Prompt care can keep it from becoming more serious.
Once your infection has been identified, your surgeon can prescribe antibiotics. These will help prevent the infection from spreading.
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