, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 230-236
Date: 25 Jan 2006

Oral Care Reduces Incidence of Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia in ICU Populations

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To examine whether oral care contributes to preventing ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) in ICU patients.


Nonrandomized trial with historical controls.


A medical-surgical ICU in a university hospital.


1,666 mechanically ventilated patients admitted to the ICU.


Oral care was provided to 1,252 patients who were admitted to the ICU during period between January 1997 and December 2002 (oral care group), while 414 patients who were admitted to the ICU during period between January1995 and December 1996 and who did not receive oral care served as historical controls (non-oral care group).

Measurements and results

Incidence of VAP(episodes of pneumonia per 1000 ventilator days) in the oral care group was significantly lower than that in the non-oral care group (3.9 vs 10.4). The relative risk of VAP in the oral care group compared to that in the non-oral care group was 0.37, with an attributable risk of −3.96%. Furthermore, length of stay in ICU before onset of VAP was greater in the oral care than in the non-oral care group (8.5 ± 4.6 vs 6.3 ± 7.5 days). However, no significant difference was observed in either duration of mechanical ventilation or length of stay between the groups (5.9 ± 10.8 vs 6.0 ± 8.8 days and 7.5 ± 11.5 vs 7.2 ± 9.5 days, respectively). Pseudomonoas aeruginosa was the most frequently detected bacteria in both groups. Number of potentially pathogenic bacteria in oral cavity was significantly reduced by single oral care procedure.


Oral care decreased the incidence of VAP in ICU patients.


Pulmonary nosocomial infection