Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia Hospital Quality Indicator. Search best hospital.

Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (VAP) is a form of pneumonia that might occur 48 hours after mechanical ventilation is given to a patient through endotracheal tube or tracheostomy. VAP basically develops when microorganisms invade lower respiratory tract and lung parenchyma. But first, let’s understand the source:-

What is a mechanical ventilator machine?

Mechanical ventilation is the medical phrase used for artificial ventilation, where steady oxygen is provided to the patients through mechanical means, also known as a ventilator.

Formula for calculating VAP rate = No. of VAP in a month/ No. of ventilator days in that month x 100


VAP Symptoms

Patients on mechanical ventilation are typically sedated and rarely able to communicate. Therefore, many symptoms of pneumonia are either absent or untraced. However, some of the basic symptoms associated with VAP include:

  • Fever or low body temperature
  • Purulent Sputum (Pus)
  • Hypoxemia (low oxygen level in blood)

VAP Causes

Some of the essential risk factors that can result in VAP includes:-

  • Underlying heart or lung disease
  • Neurological disease
  • Trauma
  • Position of the bed (raised or flat)
  • Aspiration associated issues prior to intubation
  • Prior antibiotic exposure

What hospitals are doing to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia?

Healthcare providers take serious precautions to avoid the possibilities of VAP, some of them include:-

  • If there is no contradiction, the head of the patient’s bed is raised between 30 and 45 degree.
  • If the condition permits, medical staff moves the patient out of the ventilator as soon as possible.
  • Healthcare providers strictly follow hand hygiene rules before and after treating the patients admitted in a ventilator.
  • All the equipments of the ventilator are cleaned or replaced for new patients.

What patients can do to prevent VAP?

While patients on ventilators are not much aware about the spread of VAP, following steps can be taken by them and their family members to avoid any occurrence of VAP:-

  • Patients who smoke are more vulnerable to get infected by VAP. Prior to the surgery or treatment, they must consult the doctor with regards to the same and get proper medical assistance.
  • Family members must ensure that the head of the bed is elevated at all times.
  • Friends and family members must enquire about the necessity of keeping the patient on ventilator.
  • Patients and family members must be aware of the steps that healthcare providers take to maintain overall hygiene.

How is VAP treated?

Typically, VAP is treated with a broad-spectrum of antibiotics. The type and dosage of the antibiotics depends on the bacteria by which it is caused.

Treat VAP Effectively at the Right Time

While the ventilator is regarded as a lifesaving measure, at times, it can cause complications, resulting in serious infections like Ventilator Associated Pneumonia (VAP). After CAUTI, VAP is the most common healthcare-related infection. It is also the most fatal infection that has a mortality rate of 45%. Evidently, it is imperative that healthcare centers must take proactive measures to mitigate the risk factors associated with VAP, in order to offer quality health care services to their patients.

Dr. Rishab Sharma

Dr. Rishab Sharma MBBS, MD (Internal Medicine) He is associated with Fortis Escorts Hospital, Jaipur. Dr. Rishab has wide experience in managing a variety of diseases, as well as managing critical care units in large government and corporate hospitals.

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