USF, TGH Study Aims To Prevent Pneumonia In Patients

A study underway is investigating the effects of oral hygiene in intubated adults for preventing pneumonia, a frequent cause of death among critically ill patients. 

Led by Cindy Munro, associate dean for research and innovation at the University of South Florida College of Nursing, the study will look at how an application of chlorhexidine (CHX) just prior to intubation will help decrease cases of VAP, or ventilator-associated pneumonia, among intubated adult patients at Tampa General Hospital (TGH). 

According to Munro's research, the tubes used in ventilation often pick up bacteria on their way through the mouth and into the lungs, which then causes infections such as pneumonia. Munro says the application of CHX, which kills bacteria, may decrease the likelihood of infection if applied before intubation.

"It's much like when your arm gets swabbed before putting a needle in," says Munro. "We’ve been doing this work for a long time now. We knew from previous studies that brushing teeth during intubation improved patients' health, and from that study we knew that CXH was critical to the patient’s oral health while intubated, But it's tricky because there is so much going on when a patient is being intubated and we never want to disturb that.

"The study is funded and fully enrolled," continues Munro. "We have 78 patients at TGH and more at other facilities around the country. I’m pretty anxious to see how this works."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Cindy Munro, University of South Florida College of Nursing
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