Ventilator Associated Event/Pneumonia

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Nursing practices that help prevent VAP

Several basic nursing practices contribute to successful efforts to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP).

Practice proper hand hygiene.
The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remind practitioners that adhering to hand hygiene protocol is essential to prevent transmission of bacteria when caring for mechanically ventilated patients. CDC recommends wearing gloves when handling respiratory secretions and for contact with objects contaminated by respiratory secretions.

Verify feeding-tube placement and take steps to prevent aspiration.
Routinely verify proper feeding-tube placement. To help prevent aspiration associated with enteral feedings, monitor gastric residual volume and assess for signs and symptoms of gastric overdistention.

Routinely verify endotracheal tube cuff pressure.
Measure endotracheal tube cuff pressure directly; maintain pressure between 20 and 25 cm H2O. Properly inflated cuff pressure helps prevent microaspiration, VAP, and tracheal injury.

From ANT, September 2015 Vol. 10 No. 9

By the Numbers

  • Definition:
    • Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a nosocomial lung infection that occurs in patients receiving mechanical ventilation and for whom the infection was not the reason for ventilation
    • Pneumonia is considered as ventilator associated if the patient was intubated and ventilated at the time or within 48 hours before the onset of infection
  • VAP risk rises 1% to 3% every day the patient remains on mechanical ventilation
  • With surgical site infections, accounts for close to ¼ of all hospital infections

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