Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (VAP)
VAP is the leading cause of death among infections that patients may acquire in the hospital. In addition, VAP prolongs time spent on the ventilator, length of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) stay, and length of hospital stay after discharge from the ICU. Reducing a patient’s risk of a VAP is an LMC priority.
What is a Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia?
“Pneumonia” is an infection of the lungs. A “ventilator” is a machine that helps a patient breathe by giving oxygen through a tube. A tube can be placed in a patient’s mouth, nose, or through a hole in the front of the neck. The tube is connected to a ventilator. A “ventilator-associated pneumonia” of “VAP” is a lung infection or pneumonia that develops in a person who is on a ventilator.
Why do patients need a ventilator?
A patient may need a ventilator when he or she is very ill or after surgery. Ventilators are life-saving, but they can increase a patient’s risk of getting pneumonia by making it easier for germs to get into the patient’s lung.
What are some of the things that healthcare providers at Lexington Medical Center are doing to prevent VAP?
Healthcare providers at Lexington Medical Center have taken the following steps to help prevent VAP’s:
* Lexington Medical Center follows CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and other nationally recognized guidelines for care and treatment of the patient on the ventilator.
* LMC also follows the Institute of Healthcare Improvement recommendations or “VAP bundle” to reduce patient’s risk of acquiring an infection while on the ventilator.
* Bundle elements include:
Keeping the head of patient’s bed raised between 30 and 45 degrees unless other medical conditions do not allow this occur.
Checking the patient’s ability to breathe on his or her own every day so that the patient can be taken off the ventilator as soon as possible.
Treatments and medications for Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD) Prevention and Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) Prevention.
Frequent cleaning of the patient’s mouth and oral rinsing with chlorhexidine.
Lexington Medical Center closely monitors all patients on the ventilator. Interdisciplinary health care teams carefully evaluate clinical practice issues and infection outcome data. Lexington Medical Center reports VAP outcome data to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), secure Centers for Disease Control managed data reporting system. This data is expected to be shared in the near future with health consumers through the SC DHEC Hospital Acquired Infection Website.