Table 1

Grade scale for postoperative pulmonary complications

Grade scaleDetailed description
Grade 1
  • Cough, dry

  • Microatelectasis: abnormal lung findings and temperature >37.5°C without other documented cause; results of chest radiograph either normal

  • Dyspnoea, not due to other documented cause

Grade 2
  • Cough, productive, not due to other documented cause

  • Bronchospasm: new wheezing or pre-existent wheezing resulting in change in therapy

  • Hypoxaemia

  • Atelectasis: radiological confirmation plus either temperature >37.5°C or abnormal lung findings

  • Hypercarbia, transient, requiring treatment, such as naloxone or increased manual or mechanical ventilation

Grade 3
  • Pleural effusion, resulting in thoracentesis

  • Pneumonia, suspected: radiological evidence without bacteriological confirmation

  • Pneumonia, proved: radiological evidence and documentation of pathological organism by Gram stain or culture

  • Pneumothorax

  • Re-intubation postoperative or intubation, period of ventilator dependence (non-invasive or invasive ventilation) ≤48 hours

Grade 4Ventilatory failure: postoperative non-invasive ventilation dependence ≥48 hours, or re-intubation with subsequent period of ventilator dependence ≥48 hours