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Pediatrics. 2009 Apr;123(4):1108-15. doi: 10.1542/peds.2008-1211.

A prospective study of ventilator-associated pneumonia in children.

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  • 1University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.



We conducted a prospective, observational study in a tertiary care pediatric center to determine risk factors for the development of and outcomes from ventilator-associated pneumonia.


From November 2004 to June 2005, all NICU and PICU patients mechanically ventilated for >24 hours were eligible for enrollment after parental consent. The primary outcome measure was the development of ventilator-associated pneumonia, which was defined by both Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance criteria and clinician diagnosis. Secondary outcome measures were length of mechanical ventilation, hospital and ICU length of stay, hospital cost, and death.


Fifty-eight patients were enrolled. The median age was 6 months, and 57% were boys. The most common ventilator-associated pneumonia organisms identified were Gram-negative bacteria (42%), Staphylococcus aureus (22%), and Haemophilus influenzae (11%). On multivariate analysis, female gender, postsurgical admission diagnosis, presence of enteral feeds, and use of narcotic medications were associated with ventilator-associated pneumonia. Patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia had greater need for mechanical ventilation (12 vs 22 median ventilator-free days), longer ICU length of stay (6 vs 13 median ICU-free days), higher total median hospital costs ($308,534 vs $252,652), and increased absolute hospital mortality (10.5% vs 2.4%) than those without ventilator-associated pneumonia.


In mechanically ventilated, critically ill children, those with ventilator-associated pneumonia had a prolonged need for mechanical ventilation, a longer ICU stay, and a higher mortality rate. Female gender, postsurgical diagnosis, the use of narcotics, and the use of enteral feeds were associated with an increased risk of developing ventilator-associated pneumonia in these patients.

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