Ventilator-acquired pneumonia (VAP) is the leading cause of serious associated infections in Intensive Care Units (ICU) and is associated with significant morbidity. The use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) in patients on mechanical ventilation may increase exposure to certain risk factors such as hyperoxemia and the need for multiple transfers. The aim of our study was to assess the relationship between HBOT and VAP.
This retrospective observational study was performed from March 2017 to March 2018 in a 10-bed ICU using HBOT. All patients receiving mechanical ventilation (MV) for more than 48 hours were eligible. VAP was defined using clinical and radiological criteria. Data collection was carried out via digital medical records. Risk factors for VAP were determined by univariate and multivariate analysis.
Forty-two (23%) of the 182 patients enrolled developed at least one episode of VAP. One hundred and twenty-four (68%) patients received HBOT. The incidence rate of VAP was 34 per 1000 ventilator days. The occurrence of VAP was significantly associated with immunosuppression (p<0.029), MV duration (5 [3-7] vs 8 [5-11.5] days, p<0.0001), length of stay (8 [5-13] vs 19.5 [13-32] days, p<0.0001), reintubation (p<0.0001), intra-hospital transport (p = 0.001), use of paralytic agents (p = 0.013), tracheotomy (p = 0.003) and prone position (p = 0.003). The use of HBOT was not associated with the occurrence of VAP. Multivariate analysis identified reintubation (OR: 8.3 [2.6-26.6]; p<0.0001), intra-hospital transport (OR: 3.5 [1.3-9.2]; p = 0.011) and the use of paralytic agents (OR: 3.3 [1.3-8.4]; p = 0.014) as independent risk factors for VAP.
Known risk factors for VAP are to be found within our ICU population. HBOT, however, is not an extra risk factor for VAP within this group. Further experimental and clinical investigations are needed to understand the impact of HBOT on the occurrence of VAP and on physiological microbiome.