Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is an infection of the lungs that affects people who are on mechanical ventilation. Mechanical ventilation is done with a machine that helps you breathe. Pneumonia affects the small airways and air sacs in the lungs.
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VAP is commonly caused by specific bacteria. The tube that goes into the lungs makes it easier for bacteria to enter deep into the lungs.
Factors that may increase your chance of VAP include:
VAP may cause:
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:
To reduce your chance of VAP, the healthcare team will:
American Lung Association
American Thoracic Society
American Thoracic Society. Guidelines for the management of adults with hospital-acquired, ventilator-associated, and healthcare-associated pneumonia. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2005;171(4):388-416.
Ventilator-associated pneumonia. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/vap/vap.html. Updated May 17, 2012. Accessed February 17, 2014.
Koenig SM, Truwit JD. Ventilator-associated pneumonia: Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Clin Microbio Rev. 2006;19(4):637-657.
Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. FAQs about ventilator-associated pneumonia. Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America website. Available at: http://www.shea-online.org/Assets/files/patient%20guides/NNL_VAP.pdf. Accessed February 17, 2014.
Ventilator-associated pneumonia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 2, 2013. Accessed February 17, 2014.
Last reviewed February 2015 by David L Horn, MD, FACP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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