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Review article

Oral Hygiene is an Important Factor for Prevention of Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia

Matej Par orcid id
Ana Badovinac
Darije Plančak

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page 72-78

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Inadequate oral hygiene in intensive care units (ICUs) has been recognized as a critical issue, for it is an important risk factor for ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP). VAP is an aspiration pneumonia that occurs in mechanically ventilated patients, mostly caused by bacteria colonizing the oral cavity and dental plaque. It is the second most common nosocomial infection and the leading cause of complications and death in mechanically ventilated patients. It has been suggested that improvement of oral hygiene in ICU patients could lead to a reduced incidence of VAP. Although diverse oral care measures for ICU patients have been proposed in the literature, there is no evidence that could identify the most efficient ones. Although there are several evidence-based protocols, oral care measures are still performed inconsistently and differ greatly between individual ICUs. This paper lists the oral care measures most commonly performed in ICUs, indicating their advantages and disadvantages. Brushing with regular toothbrush and rinsing with chlorhexidine are considered optimal measures of oral hygiene in critically ill patients. To date, there is no definitive agreement about the most effective oral care protocol, but evidence demonstrates that consistent performance of oral care may lower the incidence of VAP in critically ill patients.


hygiene; Intensive care units; Pneumonia, ventilator-associated; Cross infection

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