Selected Topics: Prehospital Care| Volume 56, ISSUE 6, P657-665, June 2019

Early-Onset Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia in Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: is There a Relationship with Prehospital Airway Management?



      Prehospital airway management in severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is widely recommended by international guidelines for the management of trauma. Early-onset ventilator-associated pneumonia (EOVAP) is a common occurrence in this population and can worsen mortality and functional outcome.


      In this retrospective observational study, we aimed to evaluate the association between different prehospital airway management variables and the occurrence of EOVAP. Secondarily we evaluated the correlation between EOVAP and mortality and neurological outcome.


      The study retrospectively evaluated 223 patients admitted from 2010 to 2017 in our trauma intensive care unit for severe TBI. The population was divided into three groups on the basis of the airway management technique adopted (bag mask ventilation, laryngeal tube, orotracheal intubation). Uni- and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed using the occurrence of EOVAP as the dependent variable, to investigate potential associations with prehospital airway management.


      A total of 131 episodes (58.7%) of EOVAP were registered in the study population (223 patients). Laryngeal tube and orotracheal intubation were used in patients with significantly lower Glasgow Coma Scale score on scene and a higher Face Abbreviated Injury Scale; advanced airway management significantly increased the total rescue time. The prehospital airway management technique adopted, prehospital type of sedation or use of muscle relaxants, type of transport, and rescue times were not associated with the occurrence of EOVAP.


      Prehospital airway management does not have a significant impact on the occurrence of EOVAP in severe TBI patients. Similarly, it does not have a significant impact on mortality or long-term neurological outcome despite increasing duration of mechanical ventilation, intensive care unit, and hospital stay.


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