Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of oral care with povidone-iodine on the occurrence of ventilator-associated pneumonia in a high-risk population.
Design: A multicenter, placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind, two-parallel-group trial performed between May 2008 and May 2011.
Setting: Six ICUs in France.
Patients: One hundred seventy-nine severely brain-injured patients (Glasgow Coma Scale ≤ 8) or cerebral hemorrhage expected to be mechanically ventilated for more than 24 hours.
Interventions: Participants were randomly assigned to receive oropharyngeal care with povidone-iodine (n = 91) or placebo (n = 88) six times daily until mechanical ventilation withdrawal.
Measurements and Main Results: Primary endpoint was the rate of ventilator-associated pneumonia. Secondary endpoint included the rates of ventilator-associated tracheobronchitis and acute respiratory distress syndrome and patient’s outcome. The number of patients evaluable for the primary endpoint (preplanned modified intention-to-treat population) was 150 (78 in the povidone-iodine group, 72 in the placebo group). Ventilator-associated pneumonia occurred in 24 patients (31%) in the povidone-iodine group and 20 (28%) in the placebo group (relative risk, 1.11 [95% CI, 0.67–1.82]; p = 0.69). There was no significant difference between the two groups for ventilator-associated tracheobronchitis: eight patients (10%) in the povidone-iodine group and five patients (7%) in the placebo group (relative risk, 1.48 [95% CI, 0.51–4.31]; p = 0.47). Acute respiratory distress syndrome occurred in five patients in the povidone-iodine group but not in the placebo group (p = 0.06). There was no difference between groups for ICU and hospital lengths of stay, as well as ICU and 90-day mortality.
Conclusions: There is no evidence to recommend oral care with povidone-iodine to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia in high-risk patients. Furthermore, this strategy seems to increase the rate of acute respiratory distress syndrome.