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Epidemiology of ICU-acquired pneumonia

Ferrer, Miquela,b; Torres, Antonia,b

Current Opinion in Critical Care: October 2018 - Volume 24 - Issue 5 - p 325–331
doi: 10.1097/MCC.0000000000000536
INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Edited by Antoni Torres

Purpose of review Review of the epidemiology of ICU-acquired pneumonia, including both ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) and hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) in nonventilated ICU patients, with critical review of the most recent literature in this setting.

Recent findings The incidence of ICU-acquired pneumonia, mainly VAP has decrease significantly in recent years possibly due to the generalized implementation of preventive bundles. However, the exact incidence of VAP is difficult to establish due to the diagnostic limitations and the methods employed to report rates. Incidence rates greatly vary based on the studied populations. Data in the literature strongly support the relevance of intubation, not ventilatory support, in the development of HAP in ICU patients, but also that the incidence of HAP in nonintubated patients is not negligible. Despite the fact of a high crude mortality associated with the development of VAP, the overall attributable mortality of this complication was estimated in 13%, with higher mortality rates in surgical patients and those with mid-range severity scores at admission. Mortality is consistently greatest in patients with HAP who require intubation, slightly less in VAP, and least for nonventilated HAP. The economic burden of ICU acquired pneumonia, particularly VAP, is important. The increased costs are mainly related to the longer periods of ventilatory assistance and ICU and hospital stays required by these patients. However, the different impact of VAP on economic burden among countries is largely dependent on the different costs associated with heath care.

Summary VAP has significant impact on mortality mainly in surgical patients and those with mid-range severity scores at admission. The economic burden on ICU-acquired pneumonia depends mainly on the increased length of stay of these patients.

aDepartment of Pneumology, Respiratory Institute, Hospital Clinic – Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), University of Barcelona

bCentro de Investigaciones biomedicas En Red-Enfermedades Respiratorias (CibeRes CB06/06/0028)-ISCIII, Barcelona, Spain

Correspondence to Miquel Ferrer, MD, PhD, FERS, UVIR, Servei de Pneumologia, Hospital Clínic, Villarroel 170, 08036 Barcelona, Spain. Tel: +34 93 227 55 49; fax: +34 93 227 55 49; e-mail:

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