The effects of oral rinse with 0.2% and 2% chlorhexidine on oropharyngeal colonization and ventilator associated pneumonia in adults’ intensive care units

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Ventilator Associated Pneumonia (VAP) is the most common nosocomial infection in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) which increases the length of ICU stay, duration of mechanical ventilation, and mortality. The present study used an oral care protocol and compared the effects of two different concentrations of chlorhexidine on reduction of oropharyngeal colonization and VAP.

Materials and methods

This study was performed on 114 patients from trauma, surgery, neurosurgery, and general ICUs randomly allocated to two groups under oral care with 0.2% and 2% chlorhexidine solution. A multidisciplinary team approved the oral care protocol. Data was collected using a demographic information form, APACHE IV form, Beck oral assessment scale, mucosal-plaque assessment scale, and oropharyngeal swab culture.


The results showed a significant reduction in VAP (p = 0.007) and oropharyngeal colonization (p = 0.007) in the group under oral care with 2% chlorhexidine solution compared with the other group. However, no significant difference was found between the two groups in terms of oropharyngeal adverse effects (p = 0.361).


Oral decontamination with 2% compared to 0.2% chlorhexidine is a more effective method in the prevention of VAP and reduction of oropharyngeal colonization (especially gram-positive).

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