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Use of Chlorhexidine to Prevent Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia in a Long-term Care Setting

A Retrospective Medical Record Review

McCue, Margaret K. MSN, RN, CNL; Palmer, Glen A. PhD

doi: 10.1097/NCQ.0000000000000367

Background: The purpose of this study was to explore the use of the oral decontamination solution chlorhexidine (CHX) to reduce ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) in a long-term ventilator care setting over time. Most of the research in this area has been conducted in acute and intensive care settings.

Methods: This study was a retrospective medical record review conducted in a long-term care facility with a dedicated ventilator unit. Veterans records (N = 12) were accessed for this study. The study covered 50 months, with a 43-month time period during which CHX was administered.

Results: While the sample size was small, many of the veterans on ventilators used CHX for years without an incident of VAP.

Conclusions: These findings support using CHX to significantly reduce the number of days of intravenous antibiotics used to treat VAP with little side effects.

St Cloud VA Health Care System, St Cloud, Minnesota.

Correspondence: Margaret K. McCue, MSN, RN, CNL, VA Health Care Systems, 4801 Veterans Dr, Mailbox Number, St Cloud, MN 56303 (

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Accepted for publication: August 6, 2018

Published ahead of print: October 15, 2018

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