Researchers Study Impact of Oral Hygiene in the Prevention of Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia

February 1, 2017

Nosocomial pneumonia has correlated to dental plaque and to oropharynx colonization in patients receiving mechanical ventilation. The interruption of this process, by preventing colonization of pathogenic bacteria, represents a potential procedure for the prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP).

The study design by de Lacerda, et al. (2017) was a prospective, randomized trial to verify if oral hygiene through toothbrushing plus chlorhexidine in gel at 0.12% reduces the incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia, the duration of mechanical ventilation, the length of hospital stay and the mortality rate in ICUs, when compared to oral hygiene only with chlorhexidine, solution of 0.12%, without toothbrushing, in adult individuals under mechanical ventilation, hospitalized in Clinical/Surgical and Cardiology Intensive Care Units (ICU). The study protocol was approved by the Ethical Committee of Research of the Health Sciences Center of the Federal University of Pernambuco – Certificate of Ethical Committee Approval (CAAE) 04300012500005208. Because it was a randomized trial, the research used CONSORT 2010 checklist criteria.

Seven hundred sixteen patients were admitted into the ICU; 219 fulfilled the criteria for inclusion and 213 patients were included; 108 were randomized to control group and 105 to intervention group. Toothbrushing plus 0.12% chlorhexidine gel demonstrated a lower incidence of VAP throughout the follow up period, although the difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.084). There was a significant reduction of the mean time of mechanical ventilation in the toothbrushing group (p = 0.018). Regarding the length of hospital stay in the ICU and mortality rates, the difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.064).

The results obtained showed that, among patients undergoing toothbrushing there was a significant reduction in duration of mechanical ventilation, and a tendency to reduce the incidence of VAP and length of ICU stay, although without statistical significance.

Reference: de Lacerda Vidal CF, et al. Impact of oral hygiene involving toothbrushing versus chlorhexidine in the prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia: a randomized study. BMC Infectious DiseasesBMC series – open, inclusive and trusted201717:112