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Online ISSN 1827-1596
Destrebecq A. L. L. 1, Elia G. 2, Terzoni S. 3, Angelastri G. 4, Brenna G. 5, Ricci C. 6, Spanu P. 7, Umbrello M. 7, Iapichino G. 7
1 Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche per la Salute, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Italia;
2 Servizio Infermieristico Tecnico Riabilitativo Aziendale, Azienda Ospedaliera San Paolo, Milano, Italia;
3 Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Italia;
4 Unità Operativa di Urologia, Azienda Ospedaliera San Paolo, Milano, Italia;
5 Unità Operativa di Anestesia e Rianimazione, Azienda Ospedaliera San Paolo, Milano, Italia;
6 Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, University of Regensburg, Germany;
7 Dipartimento di Fisiopatologia Medico-Chirurgica e dei Trapianti, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Italia
BACKGROUND: Gastric residual volume in ventilated critically ill may complicate gut function. Over the years studies suggested to tolerate progressively higher residuals. The relationship between such volumes and the development of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is still under debate. No reports deal with the relevant anecdotal finding of air in the stomach. Aim of the present study is to test the role of air in the development of VAPs.
METHODS: Prospective observational trial in consecutive patients with a predicted length of ICU stay >3 days. The first 8 days of stay were studied. Sedation was targeted to have awake/cooperative patients. Early enteral nutrition was attempted. Gastric content was measured every 4 hours by 60 mL-syringe suction. Upper digestive intolerance (UDI) was defined as >2 consecutive findings of liquid >200 mL, aerophagia was defined as >2 consecutive findings of air >150 mL.
RESULTS: Three hundred sixty-four patients enrolled, 43 developed VAP (11.8%). Patients were sedated with enteral (76% total time), intravenous (6%) or both (28%) drugs. Conscious sedation was achieved in 54% of the observations. 326 patients began enteral nutrition during the first 24 hours (1000 kcal median calorie intake). 10% developed UDI, 15% had aerophagia. No association was found between VAP and UDI (P=0.78), while significant association was found between VAP and aerophagia (OR=2.88, P<0.01). A sensitivity analysis, excluding patients admitted with respiratory infection, confirmed the results.
CONCLUSION: High volumes of air in the stomach significantly increased the risk of developing VAP, while gastric residual volumes were not associated with the incidence of pneumonia.