Rationale: Subglottic secretion drainage (SSD) appears to be effective in preventing ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), primarily by reducing early-onset pneumonia; but it may not prevent late-onset pneumonia. We tested the hypothesis using an endotracheal tube incorporating an ultrathin polyurethane cuff (which reduces channel formation and fluid leakage from the subglottic area), in addition to an SSD lumen, which would reduce the incidence of late-onset VAP.
Objectives: To compare the incidence of VAP, using an endotracheal tube with polyurethane cuff and subglottic secretion drainage (ETT-PUC-SSD) versus a conventional endotracheal tube (ETT-C) with polyvinyl cuff, without subglottic secretion drainage.
Methods: Clinical randomized trial in a 24-bed medical-surgical intensive care unit. Patients expected to require mechanical ventilation for more than 24 hours were randomly assigned to one of two groups: one was ventilated with ETT-PUC-SSD and the other with ETT-C.
Measurements and main results: Tracheal aspirate samples were obtained during endotracheal intubation, then twice per week and finally on extubation. VAP was found in 31 of 140 (22.1%) patients in the ETT-C group and in 11 of 140 (7.9%) in the ETT-PUC-SSD group (P = 0.001). Cox regression analysis showed ETT-C as a risk factor for global VAP (hazard ratio [HR], 3.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.66-6.67; P = 0.001), early-onset VAP (HR, 3.3; 95% CI, 1.19-9.09; P = 0.02), and late-onset VAP (HR, 3.5; 95% CI, 1.34-9.01; P = 0.01).
Conclusions: The use of an endotracheal tube with polyurethane cuff and subglottic secretion drainage helps prevent early- and late-onset VAP. Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT 00475579).
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00475579.