Objective: Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a common hazardous complication in ICU patients. The aim of the current review is to give an update on the current status and future recommendations for VAP prevention.
Methods: This article gives an updated review of the current literature on VAP. The first part briefly reviews pathogenesis and epidemiology while the second includes an in-depth review of evidence-based practice guidelines (EBPG) and new technologies developed for prevention of VAP.
Results: VAP remains a frequent and costly complication of critical illness with a pooled relative risk of 9-27% and mortality of 25-50%. Strikingly, VAP adds an estimated cost of more than $40,000 to a typical hospital admission. An important aetiological mechanism of VAP is gross or micro-aspiration of oropharyngeal organisms around the cuff of the endotracheal tube (ETT) into the distal bronchi. Prevention of VAP is preferable. Preventative measures can be divided into two main groups: the implemen- tation of EBPGs and use of device-based technologies. EBPGs have been authored jointly by the American Thoracic Society and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. The Canadian Critical Care Trials group also published VAP Guidelines in 2008. Their recommendations are detailed in this review. The current device-based technologies include drainage of subglottic secretions, silver coated ETTs aiming to influence the internal bio-layer of the ETT, better sealing of the lower airways with ultrathin cuffs and loops for optimal cuff pressure control.
Conclusions: EBPG consensus includes: elevation of the head of the bed, use of daily "sedation vacations" and decontamination of the oropharynx. Technological solutions should aim to use the most comprehensive combination of subglottic suction of secretions, optimization of ETT cuff pressure and ultrathin cuffs. VAP is a type of hospital-acquired pneumonia that develops more than 48 h after endotracheal intubation. Its incidence is estimated to be 9-27%, with a mortality of 25-50% [Am J Respir Crit Care Med 171:388-416 (2005), Am J Med 85:499-506 (1988), Chest 122:2115-2121 (2002), Intensive Care Med 35:9-29 (2009)]. The most important target in VAP handling is its prevention. The aim of this article is to review the pathogenesis, epidemiology and the different strategies/technologies for prevention of VAP.