Prevalence, Clinical Characteristics, and Outcomes Related to Ventilator-Associated Events in Neurocritically Ill Patients

NCJ_cover.jpgBy Venus Kit Sze Wu, Christine Fong, Andrew M. Walters & Abhijit V. Lele

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The prevalence, characteristics, and outcomes related to the ventilator-associated event(s) (VAE) in neurocritically ill patients are unknown and examined in this study.

A retrospective study was performed on neurocritically ill patients at a 413-bed level 1 trauma and stroke center who received three or more days of mechanical ventilation to describe rates of VAE, describe characteristics of patients with VAE, and examine the association of VAE on ventilator days, mortality, length of stay, and discharge to home.

Over a 5-year period from 2014 through 2018, 855 neurocritically ill patients requiring mechanical ventilation were identified. A total of 147 VAEs occurred in 130 (15.2%) patients with an overall VAE rate of 13 per 1000 ventilator days and occurred across age, sex, BMI, and admission Glasgow Coma Scores. The average time from the start of ventilation to a VAE was 5 (range 3–48) days after initiation of mechanical ventilation. Using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention definitions, VAEs met criteria for a ventilator-associated condition in 58% of events (n = 85), infection-related VAE in 22% of events (n = 33), and possible ventilator-associated pneumonia in 20% of events (n = 29). A most common trigger for VAE was an increase in positive end-expiratory pressure (84%). Presence of a VAE was associated with an increase in duration of mechanical ventilation (17.4[IQR 20.5] vs. 7.9[8.9] days, p < 0.001, 95% CI 7.86–13.92), intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay (20.2[1.1] vs. 12.5[0.4] days, p < 0.001 95% CI 5.3–10.02), but not associated with in-patient mortality (34.1 vs. 31.3%. 95% CI 0.76–1.69) or discharge to home (12.7% vs. 16.3%, 95% 0.47–1.29).

VAE are prevalent in the neurocritically ill. They result in an increased duration of mechanical ventilation and ICU length of stay, but may not be associated with in-hospital mortality or discharge to home.

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