Prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia

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Purpose of review

Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is an iatrogenic disease. Here we appraise recent advancements in the development and testing of strategies to prevent VAP. We also provide recommendations on the most promising interventions that should be applied.

Recent findings

In the last year, preventive bundles have consistently let to a reduction of VAP. A few trials on endotracheal tubes (ETTs) with novel cuffs failed to translate positive bench findings into clinical settings. In addition, meta-analyses confirmed the primary role of subglottic secretion aspiration in VAP prevention. A relatively new ETT, with an innovative cuff design, has been tested in clinical trials confirming potential value. Meta-analyses confirmed reduction of VAP with the use of chlorhexidine for oropharyngeal decontamination. However, prophylactic inhaled or oral antibiotics are ineffective. Finally, there is growing interest in orally ingested probiotics to prevent VAP. The results of ongoing studies on probiotics are much-awaited.


In conclusion, in the past year, new evidence elucidated limitations of new ETT cuffs in the prevention of VAP; whereas, subglottic secretion aspiration proved consistent benefits. Modulation of oropharyngeal colonization with chlorhexidine decreases risks of VAP and should be widely implemented. Finally, preventive measures with proven preventive value should be grouped into bundles.

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