Covidien has received a 2011 Annual Scientific Award from the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) for its abstract presentation, “The Impact of Obesity and Sleep Disordered Breathing on Postoperative Pulmonary Complications.”

The study was one of the first to examine the relative significance of obesity and sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) on the development of postoperative pulmonary complications (PPCs). According to Covidien, the study showed that these two common, frequently comorbid conditions are independently associated with increased rates of PPCs in adult surgical patients receiving parenteral opioids. In addition, the study revealed that PPCs result in significantly increased mortality and more than double a patient’s length of stay and total costs.

“We are delighted that SCCM has chosen to recognize our abstract, which highlights the considerable hospital burden of PPCs–a serious and costly occurrence in high-risk patient populations,” says Mary Erslon, director, Healthcare Economics, Respiratory and Monitoring Solutions for Covidien, and one of the study authors. “We believe our research provides further evidence of the need to adopt strategies that can help clinicians better identify at-risk patients for whom appropriate interventions, such as continuous monitoring, could avert the development of PPCs. Such strategies may also yield greater savings for hospitals.”

Investigators retrospectively reviewed postsurgical outcomes of more than 760,000 discharged adults (ages 18-64) who had received parenteral opioid therapy during their hospital stay, as recorded in the 2009 Premier Perspective database. Obesity, SDB, and PPCs were identified using codes from the International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification. In the study, PPCs included pneumonia, respiratory failure, atelectasis (complete or partial collapse of a lung), and other conditions, such as tracheobronchitis, pleural effusion (water on the lungs), pneumothorax (collapsed lung), and ventilator-associated pneumonia.

The results showed that obesity and SDB were significant independent risk factors for PPC. When both conditions were present, the risk was increased nearly twofold. Among discharged patients who met the study’s inclusion criteria, 7% experienced at least one PPC. Compared to controls (i.e., patients without a PPC), PPC cases were associated with significantly increased mortality (6.5% versus 0.6%), length of stay (14.4 days versus 5.4 days), and total cost ($44,223 versus $16,930).

“This Annual Scientific Award reflects the enduring strength of our commitment to research that can help drive clinical decisions that result in improved patient outcomes,” says Roger S. Mecca, MD, vice president and medical director, Respiratory and Monitoring Solutions for Covidien. “At Covidien, we are committed to finding effective strategies for the detection and management of PPCs, including solutions for early warning systems and intervention guidance that are critical for patient safety.”