Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (VAP)

What is a Ventilator Associated Pneumonia (VAP)?

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.

What are health care-associated infections?

Sometimes when patients are admitted to the hospital, they can get infections. These are called health care-associated infections.

What is the NBRHC doing to prevent VAP from occurring?

Our hospital has implemented a number of recommended best practices as outlined by the National Campaign Safer Health Care Now.

How is VAP treated?

Since VAP is caused by a bacterial infection in the lungs, it is treated using antibiotics. Sometimes it can be difficult to ascertain if a patient has developed a VAP, as they are already critically ill, and may have a pre-existing infection. Professional care teams in CCUs do their best to use leading practices to prevent a VAP from occurring.

What happens when you get VAP?

Patients with VAP show symptoms of either a fever or lower body temperature. The mucous or phlegm that is brought up from their lungs is infected.

More patient-specific information is available at www.ontario.ca/patientsafety and www.oha.com/patientsafetytips and www.oha.com/cleanhandsprotectlives.

Source: Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

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