Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a nosocomial (hospital-acquired) pneumonia that develops more than 48 hours after endotracheal intubation. It is one of the most common infections acquired by adults and children in intensive care units (ICUs) and is a cause of significant patient morbidity and mortality, increased utilization of healthcare resources, and excess cost.1 In fact, a recent review of the clinical and economical consequences of VAP found that patients who develop VAP incur more than $10,000 in additional hospital costs.2 Startling facts like these demonstrate the need for innovations not only to reduce the cost of hospitalization, but more importantly to ensure the safety and well-being of patients.
When condensation collects in the ventilator circuit, the clinician has two primary options:
OPTION 1. Use a “closed-system” approach that allows for condensate removal without breaking the circuit.
The Hudson RCI® Neptune® Heated Humidifier with ConchaSmart® Technology, featuring the ISO-Gard® Circuit Technology, allows clinicians to meet the unique humidification needs of every patient, while helping to avoid the risks associated with breaking the circuit to manage condensate.
OPTION 2. Open, or break, the circuit to drain the condensate from the tubing or water trap. When opening, or breaking, the circuit, the following consequences must be considered:3,4
Because of these potential consequences, the literature indicates that opening the circuit to drain condensate should be avoided, if possible.1,3,4 Guidelines indicate that one of the strategies to minimize contamination of equipment used to care for patients receiving mechanical ventilation is to remove condensate from ventilator circuits and to keep the ventilator circuit closed while doing so.1
It is also recognized that opening the circuit to drain accumulated condensate increases the potential for caregivers to be contaminated. During circuit disconnects, ventilators may generate a high flow through the patient circuit that may aerosolize contaminated condensate, putting both the patient and the clinician at risk for nosocomial infection.3