Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (VAP)

What is ventilator-associated pneumonia?

Ventilator-associated pneumonia or VAP is caused by bacteria, a virus, or fungi where the patient is on mechanical ventilation.

How does it happen?

Mechanical ventilation is a method used to assist or replace breathing. This may involve a machine called a ventilator. Mechanical ventilation involves passing a tube through the mouth (such as an endotracheal tube) or the skin (such as a tracheostomy tube) and into the airway to support respiration. An infection may occur if pathogens enter through the tube and get into the patient’s lungs.

Patients who are supported by ventilators are at a higher risk of acquiring pneumonia for several reasons, including impaired mobility, impaired ability to cough, and the presence of foreign equipment in their airway.

How do we prevent VAPs?

  • We maintain the head of the patient’s bed between a 30 and 45 degree angle, unless there is a pressing medial reason to do otherwise.
  • Our doctors’ orders include measures to take for VAP prevention.
  • We engage in daily discussion and documentation about whether the patient is ready to have the breathing tube removed.
  • We provide mouth care every two hours.

How common is VAP reported at Children’s?

Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (VAP)On average, we see one VAP for every 5,000 days our patients are on a ventilator.