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Ventilator-associated pneumonia not going down?

Infections at hospitals can wreak havoc on patient health. So, one would hope instances of hospital-acquired infections would be trending down. Given this, the results of a recent study are something some might find quite discouraging. The results suggest that, when it comes to one particular type of hospital-related infection, not much progress has been made on cutting down on its occurrence over the past decade.

This infection is ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). This is a type of infection connected to the use of respirators at hospitals. The study looked at data on certain patients to make an estimate of how common of a complication VAP is. It estimates that, among patients who are on a respirator for over 48 hours at acute-care hospitals, around one-tenth end up getting VAP.

The study further suggests that the occurrence rate of this infection has been holding at around this level for at least the past decade. This brings into question some federal data that had pointed to the occurrence of VAP possibly going down. According to the study’s lead author, factors such as: the possibility of reporting bias, variation in reporting standards and the difficultly of detecting VAP are among the things that could have led to the federal data suggesting a decline that wasn’t actually present.

As this illustrates, there can be challenges in figuring what exact trends are happening when it comes to hospital infections. Determining how common a given hospital infection is can be a very important thing, as the perceptions hospital have on this front could impact hospital behavior.

What do you think hospitals should be doing when it comes to trying to combat VAP?

Another thing that can sometimes be challenging when it comes to VAP and other hospital infections is figuring out how a given instance of a patient acquiring the infection happened. The specific circumstances surrounding such an occurrence can impact the legal options of the harmed patient. So, cause is something a patient may want to have carefully investigated by a skilled lawyer after they have been harmed as a result of picking up a hospital-related infection.

Source: WNPR, “Infections Linked to Hospital Respirators Still Pose Risks to Patients,” Patrick Skahill, Nov. 16, 2016

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