How UTSW Ensures Patient Safety – Preventing Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia

Some patients who have surgery or are critically ill require the use of a machine to help them breathe (mechanical ventilation). Ventilator-associated pneumonia can develop as a complication, but preventive measures can reduce the risk.

Why Is This Important?

Pneumonia is a serious infection that affects the lungs. The chances of contracting ventilator-associated pneumonia in the hospital are reduced by the medical staff doing certain things, such as keeping the head of the patient’s bed elevated slightly, cleaning the patient’s mouth periodically with antiseptic mouth wash, and giving patients medications that prevent stomach acid from getting into the lungs.

UT Southwestern University Hospitals has decreased the incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia significantly by using these and other preventive methods.   

Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (VAP)

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A lower number is better with this measure.

What Does This Graph Show?

The graph illustrates the number of patients in UTSW Intensive Care Units who have developed ventilator-associated pneumonia during their stay.

UTSW compares its ventilator-associated pneumonia performance with other hospitals by calculating the ventilator-associated pneumonia rate, or number of pneumonias per 1,000 ventilator days. The UTSW rate for ventilator-associated pneumonia by this method is zero pneumonias per 1,000 ventilator days, which is significantly better than the national average.