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


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

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