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      Implementation of the "FASTHUG" concept decreases the incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia in a surgical intensive care unit


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          Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement 100,000 Lives Campaign made VAP a target of prevention and performance improvement. Additionally, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Organizations' 2007 Disease Specific National Patient Safety Goals included the reduction of healthcare-associated infections. We report implementation of a performance improvement project that dramatically reduced our VAP rate that had exceeded the 90 th percentile nationally.


          From 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2005 a performance improvement project was undertaken to decrease our critical care unit VAP rate. In year one (2004) procedural interventions were highlighted: aggressive oral care, early extubation, management of soiled or malfunctioning respiratory equipment, hand washing surveillance, and maximal sterile barrier precautions. In year two (2005) an evaluative concept called FASTHUG (daily evaluation of patients' feeding, analgesia, sedation, thromboembolic prophylaxis, elevation of the head of the bed, ulcer prophylaxis, and glucose control) was implemented. To determine the long-term effectiveness of such an intervention a historical control period (2003) and the procedural intervention period of 2004, i.e., the pre-FASTHUG period (months 1–24) were compared with an extended post-FASTHUG period (months 25–54).


          The 2003 surgical intensive care VAP rate of 19.3/1000 ventilator-days served as a historical control. Procedural interventions in 2004 were not effective in reducing VAP, p = 0.62. However, implementation of FASTHUG in 2005, directed by a critical care team, resulted in a rate of 7.3/1000 ventilator-days, p ≤ .01. The median pneumonia rate was lower after implementation of FASTHUG when compared to the historical control year (p = .028) and the first year after the procedural interventions (p = .041) using follow-up pairwise comparisons. The pre-FASTHUG period (2003–2004, months 1–24) when compared with an extended post-FASTHUG period (2005–2007, 25–54 months) also demonstrated a significant decrease in the VAP rate, p = .0004. This reduction in the post-FASTHUG period occurred despite a rising Severity of Illness index in critically ill patients, p = .001.


          Implementation of the FASTHUG concept, in the daily evaluation of mechanically ventilated patients, significantly decreased our surgical intensive care unit VAP rate.

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          Most cited references 9

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          Intervention Analysis with Applications to Economic and Environmental Problems

           G. BOX,  G. Tiao (1975)
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            Nosocomial pneumonia in ventilated patients: a cohort study evaluating attributable mortality and hospital stay.

            Although nosocomial pneumonia is a common problem in intubated and ventilated patients, previous studies have not clearly demonstrated that nosocomial pneumonia actually results in increased mortality or prolongs hospitalization of these patients. In an attempt to answer these questions, we have performed a cohort study in which patients who developed nosocomial pneumonia and control subjects were carefully matched for the severity of underlying illness and other important variables. Case patients were 48 ventilated patients with nosocomial pneumonia identified on the basis of results of protected specimen brush quantitative culture and identification of intracellular organisms in cells recovered by bronchoalveolar lavage. For matching cases and their respective controls, the following variables were used: age (+/- 5 years), Simplified Acute Physiologic Score (+/- 3 points), indication for ventilatory support, date of admission, and duration of exposure to risk. Successful matching was achieved for 222 of 240 (92.5%) variables. The mortality rate in cases was 26 of 48 (54.2%) compared with 13 of 48 (27.1%) in controls. The attributable mortality was 27.1% (95% confidence interval [CI], 8.3% to 45.9%; p < 0.01) and the risk ratio for death was 2.0 (95% CI, 1.61 to 2.49). The mean length of stay was 34 days for cases and 21 days for controls (p < 0.02). In the case of pneumonia due to Pseudomonas or Acinetobacter species, the mortality rate was 71.4%, the attributable mortality was 42.8% (95% CI, 14.5% to 69.0%), and the risk ratio was 2.50 (95% CI, 1.31 to 4.61). Pneumonias occurring in ventilated patients, especially those due to Pseudomonas or Acinetobacter species, are associated with considerable mortality in excess of that resulting from the underlying disease alone, and significantly prolong the length of stay in the intensive care unit.
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              Using a bundle approach to improve ventilator care processes and reduce ventilator-associated pneumonia.

              A "bundle" of ventilator care processes (peptic ulcer disease prophylaxis, deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis, elevation of the head of the bed, and a sedation vacation), which may also reduce ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) rates, can serve as a focus for improvement strategies in intensive care units (ICUs). Between July 2002 and January 2004, teams of critical care clinicians from 61 health care organizations participated in a collaborative on improving care in the ICU. ICU team members posted data monthly on a Web-based extranet and submitted narrative descriptions describing the changes tested and the strategies implemented. For the 35 units that consistently collected data on ventilator bundle element adherence and VAP rates, an average 44.5% reduction of VAP was observed. The goal-oriented nature of the bundle appears to demand development of the teamwork necessary to improve reliability. The observations seem sufficiently robust to support implementing the ventilator bundles to provide a focus for additional change in ICUs.

                Author and article information

                Patient Saf Surg
                Patient Safety in Surgery
                BioMed Central
                12 February 2008
                : 2
                : 3
                [1 ]Department of Anesthesiology, University of Toledo College of Medicine, 3000 Arlington Avenue, Toledo, USA
                [2 ]Department of Prevention and Infection Control, University of Toledo Medical Center, 3000 Arlington Avenue, Toledo, USA
                [3 ]Department of Medicine, University of Toledo College of Medicine, 3000 Arlington Avenue, Toledo, USA
                [4 ]Department of Surgery, University of Toledo College of Medicine, 3000 Arlington Avenue, Toledo, USA
                [5 ]Department of Quality and Clinical Safety, University of Toledo Medical Center, 3000 Arlington Avenue, Toledo, USA
                [6 ]Department of Nursing Research and Evaluation, University of Toledo College of Nursing, 3000 Arlington Avenue, Toledo, USA
                Copyright © 2008 Papadimos et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.




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