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Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) has been implicitly accused of increasing mortality. However, it is not certain that pneumonia is responsible for death or whether fatal outcome is caused by other risk factors for death that exist before the onset of pneumonia. The aim of this study was to evaluate the attributable mortality caused by VAP by performing a matched-paired, case-control study between patients who died and patients who were discharged from the intensive care unit after more than 48 h of mechanical ventilation.During the study period, 135 consecutive deaths were included in the case group. Case-control matching criteria were as follows: (1) diagnosis on admission that corresponded to 1 of 11 predefined diagnostic groups; (2) age difference within 10 yr; (3) sex; (4) admission within 1 yr; (5) APACHE II score within 7 points; (6) ventilation of control patients for at least as long as the cases. Precise clinical, radiologic, and microbiologic definitions were used to identify VAP.Analysis was performed on 108 pairs that were matched with 91% of success. There were 39 patients (36.1%) who developed VAP in each group. Multivariate analysis showed that renal failure, bone marrow failure, and treatment with corticosteroids but not VAP were independent risk factors for death. There was no difference observed between cases and controls concerning the clinical and microbiologic diagnostic criteria for pneumonia.Ventilator-associated pneumonia does not appear to be an independent risk factor for death.