Reusable Areas of Clinically Used Ventilators Carry Low Numbers of Aerobic Bacteria

Elizabeth Anne Gonzalez


Ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) remains a serious problem for critically ill patients. We swabbed nine reusable areas on 20 clinically-used ventilators from a VA Hospital shortly after they had been removed from patients and identified bacterial isolates. No bacteria were isolated from most of the samples and of the samples that did grow bacteria, the majority of those had fewer than 10 colonies. The bacteria that were isolated were primarily non-pathogenic Gram-positive skin flora. Of the 20 ventilators swabbed, only one cultured bacteria associated with nosocomial infections: methicillin-resistant S.aureus. The most commonly contaminated areas were those most likely to be touched by healthcare professionals: the power button and the screen. The areas in closest proximity to the patients, the inspiratory and expiratory ports were the least often contaminated areas. Overall, very few bacteria were transferred to the reusable areas of the ventilators following clinical use.


ventilators; reusable; cleaning; disinfecting; bioburden; ventilator associated pneumonia

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