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Surg Infect (Larchmt). 2011 Apr;12(2):99-103. doi: 10.1089/sur.2009.028. Epub 2011 Feb 24.

Implementation and enforcement of ventilator-associated pneumonia prevention strategies in trauma patients.

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Department of Surgery, The University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas 66160, USA.



We hypothesized that strict enforcement of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) prevention (VAPP) strategies would decrease the incidence of VAP and improve patient outcomes.


This retrospective study examined 696 consecutive ventilated patients in a Level One trauma center. Three study groups were compared: Pre-VAPP, VAPP implementation, and VAPP enforcement. Ventilator days were compared with occurrences of VAP, defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance criteria. Patients with and without VAP were compared to evaluate the effect of VAP on patient outcome. Fisher exact, Kruskal-Wallis, and chi-square analyses were used, and p < 0.05 was considered significant.


During the pre-VAPP protocol period, 5.2 cases of VAP occurred per 1,000 days of ventilator support. The number of cases of VAP decreased to 2.4/1,000 days (p = 0.172) and 1.2/1,000 days (p = 0.085) in the implementation and enforcement periods, respectively. However, when including all trauma patients, regardless of head Abbreviated Injury Score (AIS) score, the difference in the rate of VAP was statistically significant in the enforcement period, but not in the implementation period, compared with the pre-VAPP period (p = 0.014 and 0.062, respectively). A significant decrease was seen in the mortality rate (p = 0.024), total hospital days (p = 0.007), intensive care unit days (p = 0.002), ventilator days (p = 0.002), and hospital charges (p = 0.03) in patients without VAP compared with patients having VAP.


There was a statistically significant decrease in the occurrence of VAP with strict enforcement of a VAPP protocol, regardless of head AIS score. Although the difference in patients with a head AIS score <3 was not statistically significant, it was clinically meaningful, decreasing the already-low rate of VAP by half. Strict enforcement of VAPP protocols may be cost efficient for hospitals and prevent decreased reimbursement under the Medicare pay-for-performance strategies.

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