UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Critical Care

Title: Preventing VAP

Keywords: ventilator associated pneumonia, head of bed (PubMed Search)

Posted: 2/10/2009 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 10/24/2020)
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Ventilator Associated Pneumonia (VAP)

  • VAP is the leading cause of death among hospital acquired infections
  • VAP causes prolongation of mechanical ventilation, ICU/hospital length of stay, and adds about $40,000 to the patient's admission
  • As we care for more and more intubated patients for longer and longer periods of time, it is crucial to know some simple preventative measures we can do in the ED to reduce morbidity and mortality
  • In the absence of contraindications, elevate the head of the bed to 30-45 degrees for intubated patients
  • This is a simple, no cost intervention that has been shown to decrease the incidence of VAP