Factors Influencing Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia in Cancer Patients

  • Park, Sun-A (Office of Infection Control, National Cancer Center in Korea) ;
  • Cho, Sung Sook (Office of Infection Control, National Cancer Center in Korea) ;
  • Kwak, Gyu Jin (Intensive Care Unit, National Cancer Center in Korea)
  • Published : 2014.07.30


Background: With increasing survival periods and diversification of treatment methods, treatment of critically ill cancer patients has become an important factor influencing patient prognosis. Patients with cancer are at high risk of infections and subsequent complications. This study investigated the incidence and factors contributing to the development of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). Materials and Methods: This retrospective study investigated the incidence of VAP and factors leading to infection in patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of a cancer center from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013. Results: The incidence of VAP was 2.13 cases per 1,000 days of intubation, and 13 of 288 patients (4.5%) developed VAP. Lung cancer was the most common cancer associated with VAP (N=7, 53.9%), and longer hospital stays and intubation were associated with increased VAP incidence. In the group using a "ventilator bundle," the incidence was 1.14 cases per 1,000 days compared to 2.89 cases per 1,000 days without its use; however, this difference was not statistically significant (p=0.158). Age (${\geq}65$, OR=5.56, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.29-23.95), surgery (OR=3.78, 95%CI=1.05-13.78), and tracheotomy (OR=4.46, 95%CI=1.00-19.85) were significant VAP risk factors. The most common causative organisms were methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (N=4, 30.8% each), followed by Acinetobacter baumannii and Candida albicans (N=2, 15.4% each). Conclusions: The incidence of pneumonia among critically ill cancer patients is highest in those with lung cancer, but lower than among non-cancer patients. The length of hospital stay and time on mechanical ventilation are important risk factors for development of VAP. Although not statistically significant, "ventilator bundle" care is an effective intervention that delays or reduces incidence of VAP. Major risk factors for VAP include age (${\geq}65$ years), surgery, and tracheostomy, while fungi, gram-negative bacteria, and multidrug-resistant organisms were identified as the major causative pathogens of VAP in this study.


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