The Underreporting of Pneumonia Infections In Hospitals

Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (VAP) is a type of lung infection that occurs in individuals receiving mechanical intubation. In intensive-care units, VAP is one of the leading causes of healthcare-associated infections, however there is currently no reliable definition of a VAP patient. Preventing VAP continues to be a priority, as it is associated with increased healthcare costs, longer hospital stays, and increased mortality and morbidity.

Defining a VAP infection is based on subjective elements and will need further standardization. A new system that is currently scheduled for implementation in 2013 will categorize VAP into 4 levels:

  1. Ventilator-associated condition (VAC)
  2. Infection-related complications (IVAC)
  3. Possible VAP
  4. Probable VAP

Like other healthcare-associated infections, the underreporting of infection rates continues to be a general trend. With healthcare-associated infections being the most common type of hospital-related complication, this fact is even more alarming. In a recent review of over 100 hospitals in California concluded that approximately 1/3 of all healthcare-associated infections go unreported. A national effort to monitor such infections is also challenged by the use of a self-reporting regimen that is still evolving. Professionals involved in this study also argue that if we were able to attain an accurate estimate of healthcare-associated infection statistics, we would be one step closer to curbing the number of deaths.

Similar to other HAIs, preventing VAP involves techniques such as proper hand washing and limiting exposure to bacteria. Discontinuing the use of mechanical ventilation as soon as possible is also important to prevent the disease. Like all healthcare-associated infections, it is the responsibility of all involved parties to engage in and enforce all necessary practices that are aimed at preventing illness. While the exact number of individuals lost to such infections annually varies based on several different estimates, there is no question that we need to do whatever it takes to prevent unnecessary deaths. Because VAP can be caused by several different pathogens, we must be especially alert when dealing with such patients. This is also true due to the fact that those receiving mechanical ventilation are already seriously ill and do not need any additional illnesses to fight off. One of the most important facts is to remember that the sooner mechanical ventilation can be discontinued, the lower the patient’s risk of developing VAP.

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2 Responses to “The Underreporting of Pneumonia Infections In Hospitals”

  1. This really presented the problem, thank you!

  2. admin says:

    We are working on the situation, thanks for your patience.

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