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NICE guidance aims to lower the risk of pneumonia in ventilator patients

This article was originally published in Scrip

Executive Summary

Patients who are on a ventilator should be given oral antiseptics such as chlorhexidine to reduce the risk of pneumonia, says new guidance issued by the National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in collaboration with the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA). The guidance applies to patients aged 16 and older who have a tube placed in their mouths or noses, or through their necks and down their windpipes. NICE and the NPSA also recommend that patients have their upper body elevated for as long as possible unless they have spinal injuries when receiving mechanical ventilation. Pneumonia is a complication that can arise during mechanical ventilation, particularly when ventilation is prolonged and patients are critically ill. It represents 31% of all intensive care unit-acquired infections, and occurs in 9-27% of all intubated patients, NICE/NPSA says. Patients who develop VAP are at risk of serious complications and have to receive mechanical ventilation for significantly longer.

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