BACKGROUND: Incidence of postoperative pulmonary complications (PPC) in patients undergoing non-cardiothoracic surgery remains high and the occurrence of these complications has enormous implications for the patient and the health care system. AIM: The aim of the study was to identify risk factors for PPC in patients undergoing adominal surgical procedures. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A prospective cohort study in abdominal surgical patients, admitted to the emergency and surgical ward of the UHC of Tirana, Albania, was conducted during the period: March 2014-March 2015. We collected data on the occurrence of a symptomatic and clinically significant PPC using clinical, laboratory, and radiology data. We evaluated the relations between PPCs and various pre-operative or intra-operative factors to identify risk factors. RESULTS: A total of 450 postoperative patients admitted to the surgical emergency and surgical ward were studied. The mean age were 59.85 ±13.64 years with 59.3% being male. Incidence of PPC was 27.3% (123 patients) and hospital length of stay was 4.93 ± 4.65 days. Length of stay was substantially prolonged for those patients who developed PPC (7.48 ± 2.89 days versus 3.97± 4.83 days, p < 0.0001. PPC were identified as risk factors for mortality, OR: 21.84; 95% CI: 11.66-40.89; P < 0.0001. The multivariate regression analysis identified as being independently associated with an increased risk of PPC: age ≥ 65 years (OR 11.41; 95% CI: 4.84-26.91, p < 0.0001), duration of operation ≥ 2.5 hours (OR 8.38; 95% CI: 1.52-46.03, p = 0.01, history of previous pulmonary diseases (OR 11.12; 95% CI: 3.28-37.65, P = 0.0001) and ASA > 2 (OR 6.37; 95% CI: 1.54-26.36, P = 0.01). CONCLUSION: We must do some efforts in reducing postoperative pulmonary complications, firstly to identify which patients are at increased risk, and then following more closely high-risk patients because those patients are most likely to benefit.