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Minimising Ventilator Acquired Pneumonia

Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is the leading cause of death among hospital-acquired infections. ICU patients are especially vulnerable for a variety of reasons:

  • clustering of high-acuity patients in one area, with a high degree of contact with hospital staff;
  • immunocompromise from critical illness;
  • mechanical compromise of normal airway protection (in ventilated patients);

VAP is an avoidable risk. Strategies for minimising risk include

  • strict application of universal precautions for preventing nosocomial infection;
  • specific application of the VAP care bundle;
  • consideration of new technologies and devices;

These are further explored in nearby pages in this section. Although there are many important aspects to VAP prevention, it is vital not to overlook the continued importance of generic infection prevention measures, especially hand hygiene.