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Ventilator-associated pneumonia in PICU – how are we doing?

L van Wyk
J T Applegate


Introduction. Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a common hospital-acquired infection in children, leading to an increase in morbidity and mortality. A previous study in 2013 showed that VAP rates decreased dramatically after implementation of a VAP bundle and appointing a VAP coordinator. As part of a ‘Plan, Do, Study, Act’ cycle, it was necessary to evaluate the efficacy of these interventions.

Objective. To evaluate the VAP rate in the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) over 2 years (2017 - 2018), and to describe the causative organisms and antibiotic sensitivity/resistance patterns during this period.

Methods. This was a retrospective, descriptive study using the existing PICU VAP database as well as clinical folders.

Results. Over the 2 years, 31 VAP cases were identified. The VAP rate for 2017 was 4.0/1 000 ventilator days and 5.4/1 000 ventilator days for 2018. Compliance with the VAP bundle was 68% in 2017 and 70% in 2018. The median (interquartile range (IQR)) duration of ventilation in 2017 was 9 (6 -12) days and 15 (11 - 28) days in 2018. The median (IQR) length of PICU stay in 2017 was 11 (8 - 22) days and 25 (17 - 37) days in 2018. The most common cultured organism was an extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) Klebsiella pneumoniae sensitive to amikacin and carbapenems.

Conclusion. Our VAP rate has not decreased since 2013. It is imperative that we improve compliance with the VAP bundle, in order to reduce VAP rates. K. pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were the most common organisms causing VAPs and empiric use of piptazobactam and amikacin is still appropriate.

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eISSN: 2078-676X
print ISSN: 1562-8264