Ventilator-associated pneumonia in the pediatric intensive care unit: characterizing the problem and implementing a sustainable solution

J Pediatr. 2009 Apr;154(4):582-587.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2008.10.019. Epub 2008 Dec 3.


Objectives: To characterize ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) in our pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), implement an evidence-based pediatric VAP prevention bundle, and reduce VAP rates.

Study design: The setting is a 25-bed PICU in a 475-bed free-standing pediatric academic medical center. VAP was diagnosed according to Centers for Disease Control and National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance System definitions. A pediatric VAP prevention bundle was established and implemented. Baseline VAP rates were compared with implementation and post-bundle-implementation periods.

Results: VAP is significantly associated with increased PICU length of stay, mechanical ventilator days, and mortality rates (length of stay VAP 19.5+/-15.0 vs non-VAP 7.5+/-9.2, P< .001; ventilator days VAP 16.3+/-14.7 vs non-VAP 5.3+/-8.4, P< .001; mortality VAP 19.1% vs non-VAP 7.2%, P= .01). The VAP rate was reduced from 5.6 (baseline) to 0.3 infections per 1000 ventilator days after bundle implementation; P< .0001. Subglottic/tracheal stenosis, trauma, and tracheostomy are significantly associated with VAP.

Conclusions: PICU VAP is associated with increased morbidity and mortality rates. A multidisciplinary improvement team can implement a sustainable pediatric-specific VAP prevention bundle, resulting in VAP rate reduction.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Critical Pathways*
  • Female
  • Health Plan Implementation
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infection Control*
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric
  • Midwestern United States
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated / microbiology
  • Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated / prevention & control*
  • Risk Factors