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Nurs Crit Care. 2007 Nov-Dec;12(6):287-94.

Reducing the risk of ventilator-acquired pneumonia through head of bed elevation.

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Critical Care, Level 7, Royal Sussex County Hospital, Eastern Road, Brighton, East Sussex, UK.



It has been suggested that placing critically ill ventilated patients in a semirecumbent position minimizes the likelihood of nosocomial pneumonia.


This pilot study explores whether the incidence of ventilator-acquired pneumonia (VAP) can be reduced by elevating the head of the bed to 45 degrees.


The design is quantitative in nature, using a randomized controlled trial. The method involves adult ventilated patients being randomly assigned to one of two positions, i.e. 45 degrees raised head of bed (treatment group) or 25 degrees raised head of bed (control group). Data collection relied upon the diagnosis of clinically suspected and microbiologically confirmed pneumonia defined by the Consensus Conference on VAP.


Thirty patients were included in the study--17 in the treatment group and 13 in the control group. Results showed that 29% (five) in the treatment group and 54% (seven) in the control group contracted VAP (P < 0.176).


There was a trend towards a reduction in VAP in the patients nursed at 45 degrees. However, because of the sample size this difference did not reach statistical significance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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