Summary pointsVentilator associated pneumonia is the most common healthcare associated infection in intensive careA high clinical suspicion of pneumonia in a ventilated patient should prompt the immediate administration of an appropriate broad spectrum antibiotic(s)Implement evidence based interventions that reduce the incidence of pneumonia in all patients receiving mechanical ventilationVentilator associated pneumonia is the most common nosocomial infection in patients receiving mechanical ventilation, and it accounts for about half of all antibiotics given in the intensive care unit (ICU).1 Its reported incidence depends on case mix, duration of mechanical ventilation, and the diagnostic criteria used. It occurs in 9 27% of mechanically ventilated patients, with about five cases per 1000 ventilator days.2 The condition is associated with increased ICU and hospital stay and has an estimated attributable mortality of 9%.3A number of evidence based strategies have been described for the prevention of ventilator associated pneumonia, and its incidence can be reduced by combining several in a care bundle.4The purpose of this review is to update readers on the diagnosis, management, and prevention of this serious infection.Ventilator associated pneumonia is a hospital acquired pneumonia that occurs 48 hours or more after tracheal intubation.5 It can usefully be classified as early onset or late onset pneumonia. Early onset pneumonia occurs within four days of intubation and mechanical ventilation, and it is generally caused by antibiotic sensitive bacteria.
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