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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 139  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 814-821

Prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia in the intensive care unit: A review of the clinically relevant recent advancements


1 Department of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, TX, USA
2 Department of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, TX, USA; Health Science Department, University of Milan-Bicocca, Respiratory Unit, San Gerardo Hospital, Monza, Italy
3 Department of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio; VERDICT/South Texas Veterans Health Care System, San Antonio, TX, USA

Correspondence Address:
Marcos I Restrepo
VERDICT (11C6), 7400 Merton Minter Boulevard, San Antonio, Texas 78229-4404, USA

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


PMID: 25109715

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Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is one of the most commonly encountered hospital-acquired infections in intensive care units and is associated with significant morbidity and high costs of care. The pathophysiology, epidemiology, treatment and prevention of VAP have been extensively studied for decades, but a clear prevention strategy has not yet emerged. In this article we will review recent literature pertaining to evidence-based VAP-prevention strategies that have resulted in clinically relevant outcomes. A multidisciplinary strategy for prevention of VAP is recommended. Those interventions that have been shown to have a clinical impact include the following: (i) Non-invasive positive pressure ventilation for able patients, especially in immunocompromised patients, with acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or pulmonary oedema, (ii) Sedation and weaning protocols for those patients who do require mechanical ventilation, (iii) Mechanical ventilation protocols including head of bed elevation above 30 degrees and oral care, and (iv) Removal of subglottic secretions. Other interventions, such as selective digestive tract decontamination, selective oropharyngeal decontamination and antimicrobial-coated endotracheal tubes, have been tested in different studies. However, the evidence for the efficacy of these measures to reduce VAP rates is not strong enough to recommend their use in clinical practice. In numerous studies, the implementation of VAP prevention bundles to clinical practice was associated with a significant reduction in VAP rates. Future research that considers clinical outcomes as primary endpoints will hopefully result in more detailed prevention strategies.


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