(KUTV) Pneumonia is a dangerous infection that can be deadly if not treated quickly with antibiotics. The infection can be caused by viruses and bacteria. In serious cases, pneumonia can be fatal. “About 1 out of 20 people die,” says Doctor Nathan Dean.
Dr. Dean sees a lot of patients with pneumonia in the emergency department at Intermountain Medical Center. He says many cases surface during the winter months but pneumonia can strike at any time. Dr. Dean is now one of the leaders of research into a new tool for doctors to diagnose pneumonia cases quickly. “It looks at every patient who is in the emergency department to try and see whether they have pneumonia,” said Dr. Dean.
Here is how it works: when a patient arrives at the emergency room, their information is entered into a computer. If the symptoms and test results indicate the presence of pneumonia, the computer sends out an alert to doctors. “The tool looks for pneumonia cases based on 40 different elements. Some of which are apparent like fever, high heart rate, white blood count.” The tool also helps doctors figure out the best treatment options.
Doctors say pneumonia infections are twice as likely to be serious for those who smoke.
For more information on Intermountain Medical Center, visit: http://intermountainhealthcare.org/hospitals/imed/Pages/home.aspx
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(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)