Previously published guidelines are available that provide comprehensive recommendations for detecting and preventing healthcare-associated infections. The intent of this document is to highlight practical recommendations in a concise format designed to assist acute care hospitals in implementing and prioritizing their ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) prevention efforts. Refer to the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America/Infectious Diseases Society of America “Compendium of Strategies to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections” Executive Summary and Introduction and accompanying editorial for additional discussion.
1. Occurrence of VAP in acute care facilities.
a. VAP is one of the most common infections acquired by adults and children in intensive care units (ICUs).
i. In early studies, it was reported that 10%-20% of patients undergoing ventilation developed VAP. More-recent publications report rates of VAP that range from 1 to 4 cases per 1,000 ventilator-days, but rates may exceed 10 cases per 1,000 ventilator-days in some neonatal and surgical patient populations. The results of recent quality improvement initiatives, however, suggest that many cases of VAP might be prevented by careful attention to the process of care.
2. Outcomes associated with VAP
a. VAP is a cause of significant patient morbidity and mortality, increased utilization of healthcare resources, and excess cost.
i. The mortality attributable to VAP may exceed 10%.
ii. Patients with VAP require prolonged periods of mechanical ventilation, extended hospitalizations, excess use of antimicrobial medications, and increased direct medical costs.