Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) occurs when germs multiply in the lungs of patients who are using a ventilator to help them breathe. VAP causes fevers, chills, difficulty breathing, increased sputum and other pneumonia symptoms.

These infections can lead to serious complications and even death, especially for critically ill patients.

What is a ventilator?

A ventilator is a lifesaving machine that helps people breathe when they can't breathe well on their own. atients are often connected to a ventilator in surgery or when recovering from serious illness. A ventilator is connected to a tube – called an endotracheal or "ET" tube – placed in the patient's lungs. The tube is inserted through the mouth, nose or throat.

At UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco, patients connected to a ventilator are always in an intensive care unit or in surgery. A ventilator may be left in place for several weeks.

How does UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco monitor VAP rates?

The hospital measures VAP rates according to the methods of the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rates are expressed as the number of infections per 1,000 ventilator days, or the total number of days patients use a ventilator. For example, if a patient is on a mechanical ventilator for five days, that would count as five ventilator days.

What is the VAP rate at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco?

The hospital achieved a VAP rate of 0.15 VAP/1,000 ventilator days in fiscal year 2019. (Lower is better when comparing VAP rates. Individual units compare against NHSN data.)

Our goal is to have zero cases of ventilator-associated pneumonia in the hospital.