VAP is an infection of the lower respiratory tract. The lower respiratory tract includes:
- Small bronchi (airways)
- Alveoli (air sacs) in the lungs
VAP affects people who are using a ventilator . This is a machine that helps you breath. VAP is a serious condition. It requires care from a doctor.
VAP is commonly caused by bacteria, such as:
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Streptococcus pneumonia
The tube that goes into the lungs makes it easier for bacteria to enter deep into the lungs. This bacteria causes infection.
These factors increase your chance of developing VAP:
- Chronic lung disease
- Conditions that affect the nervous system
- Weak immune system
- Prolonged antibiotic use
- Intubated (having a tube placed) more than once
- Tube placed through a stoma (hole in the throat) rather than down through the nose or mouth
- Prolonged ventilation
- Continuous sedation
- Prolonged period of lying on back
- Older age
Symptoms of VAP may include:
- Thick mucus, greenish mucus, or pus-like sputum
- Bluish color of nails or lips
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
Your doctor will review your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will also be done. Tests may include:
Treatment depends on which germs are causing the pneumonia. Your doctor will discuss the best treatment plan with you. Treatment options include:
- Antibiotics—Antibiotics will be given by IV. Results from the lab tests will guide your doctor’s choice of antibiotic.
- Oxygen therapy—You may need additional oxygen to increase the level of oxygen in your body.
- Physical therapy—Physical therapy can help to loosen and remove thick mucus from the lungs.
To reduce your chance of VAP, the hospital staff will:
- Elevate the head of your bed 30°-45°
- Wash their hands before and after touching you or the ventilator
- Clean the inside of your mouth on a regular basis
- Keep you on the ventilator only if it is necessary
- Avoid overly sedating you
- Regularly suction your airway
- Reviewer: Marcin Chwistek, MD
- Review Date: 06/2013 -
- Update Date: 06/20/2013 -