Small community hospitals have high rate of ventilator-associated pneumonia

New research finds small community hospitals have a higher rate of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP)--one of the most frequent healthcare-associated infections found in ICUs--than their larger counterparts, despite less use of ventilators. The study, published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, compares outcomes of patients on ventilators in 31 small community hospitals (less than 30,000 patients per days/year) in the southeastern United States from 2007 to 2011. The findings suggest these hospitals may need additional resources to care for these critically ill patients. Researchers also found patients on ventilators had long hospital stays (26 days median length of stay), and one out of three patients died. "Although it is unclear why small community hospitals experience more cases of ventilator-associated pneumonia, it may be related to limited familiarity with ventilator use and fewer specialty healthcare workers such as respiratory therapists," said study author Deverick Anderson, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Duke University and co-director of the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network. Announcement