Arthur CW Lau, HM So, SL Tang, Alwin Yeung,  SM Lam, WW Yan; for the Hong Kong East Cluster Task Force on Prevention of Ventilator-associated Pneumonia in Critical Care Areas; Hong Kong Med J 2015;21:Epub 16 Jan 2015

Ventilator-associated pneumonia is the commonest, yet mostly preventable, infection in mechanically ventilated patients. Successful control of ventilator-associated pneumonia can save hospitalisation cost, and is possible by using a multidisciplinary clinical and administrative approach. The ventilator-associated pneumonia rate should be expressed as the number of ventilator-associated pneumonia days per 1000 ventilator days to take into account the device-utilisation duration for meaningful comparison. Various strategies address the issue, including general infection control measures, body positioning, intubation and mechanical ventilation, oral and gastro-intestinal tract, endotracheal tube, airway pressure, cuff pressure, selective digestive and/or oropharyngeal decontamination, and probiotic or early antibiotic treatment, as well as overall administration at a policy level..

The rationale and controversy of these approaches are discussed in this article. The authors suggest that all units treating mechanically ventilated patients should have a ventilator-associated pneumonia prevention protocol in place, and ventilator-associated pneumonia should be seriously considered as a key performance indicator in local intensive care units.

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