For our public reporting purposes, ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) is defined as a pneumonia (lung infection) occurring in patients in a critical care unit (CCU), requiring, external mechanical breathing support (a ventilator) intermittently or continuously, through a breathing tube for more than 48 hours.
The rate is calculated as follows:
Number of new hospital-acquired cases of VAP in CCU X 1000
Total number of ventilator days in CCU
VAP can develop in patients for many reasons. Because they are relying on an external machine to breath, their normal coughing, yawning, and deep breath reflexes are suppressed. Furthermore, they may have a depressed immune system, making them more vulnerable to infection. CCU teams have many ways to try to assist patients with these normal breathing reflexes, but despite this, patients are still at risk for developing pneumonia.