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Pneumonia Prevention Could Save Millions of Dollars

Wednesday, May 30, 2007 at 1:28 PM

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A new study out of Metro Health Medical Center finds the nation's hospitals could save millions of dollars in extra costs by more effectively preventing pneumonia in stroke patients. ideastream's Health Reporter Lisa Ann Pinkerton has more.

The study finds pneumonia may occur in less than 10% of stroke patients, but the costs to treat this common complication could save America’s hospitals around $459 million a year. Lead researcher, Dr. Irene Katzan, says these are costs not covered by insurance reimbursements.

Irene Katzan: So this is extra costs that the hospitals are bearing for patients who have had a pneumonia. So this is an incentive to optimize quality of care with patients of stroke.

Katzan says stroke victims often have difficulty swallowing and pneumonia can develop when liquid or food gets into the lungs. She says a simple swallow test could prevent the complication, but only about 44% of physicians perform such a test before administering nourishment to patients. The study was released this week in the the Journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Lisa Ann Pinkerton, 90.3.

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