Ventilator-associated pneumonia

Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 24 Jun 2020

Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a form of hospital-acquired pneumonia (considered the commonest form 3).

Ventilator-associated pneumonia is defined as pneumonia occurring more than 48 hours after patients have been intubated and started on mechanical ventilation 5.

It may complicate the course of 8 to 28% of patients receiving mechanical ventilation.

It is usually suspected when the patient develops a new or progressive air space opacities on chest radiograph, a raised white cell count and/or purulent tracheobronchial secretions whilst being on mechanical ventilation.

Plain film features are non-specific and it is impossible to differentiate from other forms of pneumonia and therefore the clinical context is the key to the diagnosis.

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