Article

Ventilator-associated pneumonia in burn patients: a cause or consequence of critical illness?

Department of Surgery, University of Texas Medical School, Houston, TX, USA.
Expert Review of Respiratory Medicine 10/2011; 5(5):663-73. DOI: 10.1586/ers.11.61
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Infectious complications are a constant threat to thermally injured patients during hospitalizations and are a predominant cause of death. Most of the infections that develop in burn patients are nosocomial and of a pulmonary etiology. The bacteria that cause ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) take advantage of the fact that uniquely among intensive care unit patients endotracheal intubation allows them a 'free' passage to the sterile lower airways; however, the combination of severe thermal injury (systemic immunosuppression) and inhalation injury (local immunosuppression and tissue injury) create an ideal environment for development of VAP. Thus, strategies directed at preventing and treating VAP in burn patients must address not only rapid extubation and VAP prevention bundles known to work in other intensive care unit populations, but therapies directed to more rapid wound healing and restoration of pulmonary patency.

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