Reducing VAP Rates to Near Zero Requires Multiple Interventions and Performance Measures

Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a common infection in the intensive care unit (ICU) and associated with a high mortality. Caserta, et al. conducted a quasi-experimental study in a medical-surgical ICU; multiple interventions to optimize VAP prevention were performed from October 2008 to December 2010. All of these processes, including the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)'s ventilator bundle plus oral decontamination with chlorhexidine and continuous aspiration of subglottic secretions (CASS), were adopted for patients undergoing mechanical ventilation.

The researchers evaluated a total of 21,984 patient-days, and a total of 6,052 ventilator-days (ventilator utilization rate of 0.27) and found VAP rates of 1.3 and 2.0 per 1,000 ventilator days respectively in 2009 and 2010, achieving zero incidence of VAP several times during 12 months, whenever VAP bundle compliance was over 90 percent.

The researchers say these results suggest that it is possible to reduce VAP rates to near zero and sustain these rates, but it requires a complex process involving multiple performance measures and interventions that must be permanently monitored. Their research was published in BMC Infectious Diseases.

Reference: Caserta RA, et al.  Timenestsky. A program for sustained improvement in preventing ventilator associated pneumonia in an intensive care setting. BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:234 doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-234