Developing a new, national approach to surveillance for ventilator-associated events*

Crit Care Med. 2013 Nov;41(11):2467-75. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0b013e3182a262db.


Objective: To develop and implement an objective, reliable approach to surveillance for ventilator-associated events in adult patients.

Design: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) convened a Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (VAP) Surveillance Definition Working Group in September 2011. Working Group members included representatives of stakeholder societies and organizations and federal partners.

Main results: The Working Group finalized a three-tier, adult surveillance definition algorithm for ventilator-associated events. The algorithm uses objective, readily available data elements and can identify a broad range of conditions and complications occurring in mechanically ventilated adult patients, including but not limited to VAP. The first tier definition, ventilator-associated condition (VAC), identifies patients with a period of sustained respiratory deterioration following a sustained period of stability or improvement on the ventilator, defined by changes in the daily minimum fraction of inspired oxygen or positive end-expiratory pressure. The second tier definition, infection-related ventilator-associated complication (IVAC), requires that patients with VAC also have an abnormal temperature or white blood cell count, and be started on a new antimicrobial agent. The third tier definitions, possible and probable VAP, require that patients with IVAC also have laboratory and/or microbiological evidence of respiratory infection.

Conclusions: Ventilator-associated events surveillance was implemented in January 2013 in the CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network. Modifications to improve surveillance may be made as additional data become available and users gain experience with the new definitions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Patient Safety
  • Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated / epidemiology
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Respiration, Artificial / adverse effects*
  • United States
  • Ventilator-Induced Lung Injury / epidemiology*