What is VAP (ventilator-associated pneumonia)?


Ventilator-associated pneumonia is the most common and lethal form of hospital-acquired (nosocomial) pneumonia. The occurrence of VAP varies greatly, ranging from 6 to 52% of patients (1) who need to be placed on a breathing machine (mechanical ventilation) for more than 48 hours. (2) Having a breathing tube placed in the windpipe to assist a patient to breath (endotracheal intubation) and mechanical ventilation predispose a patient to VAP by interfering with the body’s normal defense mechanisms that keep microorganisms out of the lungs.


How can I help reduce my risk of acquiring VAP?


There is no one specific thing that you, as a patient, can do to prevent VAP. The best prevention is to keep yourself healthy so that there is no need for you to be placed on a breathing machine. In case you do need to be placed on a breathing machine, you and your family should have the procedure explained to you by your healthcare provider and have your questions and concerns answered.




(1) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

(2) Institute for Healthcare Improvement


For more information regarding VAP, the following websites may prove helpful:

Related Links:


The Safe Care Campaign

The Safe Care Campaign's goal is to investigate a crucial, culture-change within the American healthcare environment in regard to comprehensive infection prevention and hand hygiene.


Nursing 2008 Peer-to-Peer Website


Nursing 2008 has been peer-reviewed and evidence-based since our first issue, in 1971. Our mission is to improve nursing practice by providing evidence-based practical information with a reader-friendly approach.



Skin is the Source


The skin is the source website is dedicated to reducing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) by educating patients that skin is often the source of HAIs.


Other Resources: