Chlorhexidine Does Not Reduce VAP Risk in Non-Cardiac Patients

Routine oral care using chlorhexidine may not decrease the risk of ventilator-associated pneumonia in non-cardiac surgery patients, according to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers analyzed data from 16 studies from the PubMed, Embase, CINAHL and Web of Science databases from their inception until July 2013 to identify patient-centered outcomes for patients receiving mechanical ventilation.

They found oral chlorhexidine use was not associated with a reduce risk of VAP in non-cardiac surgery patients.

Additionally, the rate was not statistically different between cardiac patients using chlorhexidine and cardiac patients using a placebo, and there was a nonsignificant increase in mortality for non-cardiac patients using chlorhexidine or a placebo.

Researchers also found there was no significant difference in average duration of mechanical ventilation or length of stay in the intensive care unit between chlorhexidine and placebo users.

However, cardiac patients receiving chlorhexidine did experience fewer respiratory tract infections.

Researchers conclude chlorhexidine care does not affect patient-centered outcomes for cardiac or non-cardiac patients, and they suggest the protocol for orally using chlorhexidine in non-caridac patients be reexamined.

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