Ventilator Associated Events

ICU Patient

  • Mechanical ventilation is an essential, life-saving therapy for more than 300,000 patients in the U.S. each year. However, because of being mechanically ventilated, these patients are at high risk for complications and poor outcomes, including death. Complications lead to longer duration of mechanical ventilation, longer stays in the ICU and hospital, increased healthcare costs, and increased risk of death and disability.
  • Surveillance of ventilator-associated events (VAE) prior to 2013 was limited to ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP); however, VAP criteria and definitions are not sensitive or specific so its use in public reporting and inter-facility comparisons is limited.
  • The current surveillance criteria identify a broad range of conditions and complications that occur in mechanically-ventilated adults. These serve to identify events that are clinically important and may be preventable and include: Ventilator-Associated Condition (VAC), Infection-related Ventilator-Associated Complication (IVAC), and Possible VAP (PVAP).  Most VACs are due to pneumonia, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), atelectasis, and pulmonary edema. Approximately 5-10% of mechanically ventilated patients develop VAEs.
  • 5-15% of ventilated patients still develop nosocomial pneumonias.  In addition, the mortality rate attributed to VAP is approximately 10%.
  • Hospitals are encouraged to focus on interventions, or a ventilator bundle, that have been proven to decrease the occurrence of VAE and associated mortality, length of stay and cost.


Safety Action Bundle – Ventilator Associated Events (VAE)updated September 9, 2016


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