New Guidance Released for Preventing Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia

Five medical societies release recommendations for prevention of ventilator associated events
May 20, 2022

ARLINGTON, VA In the second in series of updates on guidance for infection control in acute-care hospitals, five medical organizations are recommending best practices for preventing hospital-associated pneumonia. Pneumonia is the most common and deadly healthcare-associated infection.

Strategies to Prevent Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated Events, and Nonventilator Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia in Acute-Care Hospitals: 2022 Update is one in a series of guidelines, known collectively as the Compendium, scheduled for publication this year. The Compendium is a multiyear, highly collaborative guidance-writing effort by over 100 experts from around the world.

“Preventing hospital-acquired pneumonia is complicated because the diagnosis is often subjective and non-specific,” said Dr. Michael Klompas, first author of the guidance. “This complicates the interpretation of the prevention literature. The compendium helps distill the highest yield practices to prevent ventilator-associated events in ventilated patients and pneumonia in both ventilated and non-ventilated patients.”

Essential practices that evidence shows to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia include:

  • Avoiding intubation
  • Minimizing sedation
  • Maintaining and improving physical conditioning
  • Elevating the head of the bed
  • Providing oral care with toothbrushing
  • Providing early enteral rather than parenteral nutrition
  • Maintaining ventilator circuits

This document includes a section on how to prevent non-ventilator hospital-acquired pneumonia, emphasizing the role of oral care, managing dysphagia, and using multimodal approaches to prevent viral infections.

This document, published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, updates the 2014 Strategies to Prevent Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia in Acute-Care Hospitals. The Compendium, first published in 2008, is sponsored by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology (SHEA). It is the product of a collaborative effort led by SHEA, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, the American Hospital Association, and The Joint Commission, with major contributions from representatives of a number of organizations and societies with content expertise.

Upcoming Compendium updates will include strategies to prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infections, Clostridium difficile infections, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections, and surgical site infections. Hand hygiene also has a dedicated article. Each Compendium article contains infection prevention strategies, performance measures, and example implementation approaches. Compendium recommendations are derived from a synthesis of systematic literature review and evaluation of the evidence, practical and implementation-based considerations, and expert consensus.


About ICHE
Published through a partnership between the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and Cambridge University Press, Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology provides original, peer-reviewed scientific articles for anyone involved with an infection control or epidemiology program in a hospital or healthcare facility. ICHE is ranked 41st out of 89 Infectious Disease Journals in the latest Web of Knowledge Journal Citation Reports from Thomson Reuters.

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) is a professional society representing more than 2,000 physicians and other healthcare professionals around the world who possess expertise and passion for healthcare epidemiology, infection prevention, and antimicrobial stewardship. The society’s work improves public health by establishing infection-prevention measures and supporting antibiotic stewardship among healthcare providers, hospitals, and health systems. This is accomplished by leading research studies, translating research into clinical practice, developing evidence-based policies, optimizing antibiotic stewardship, and advancing the field of healthcare epidemiology. SHEA and its members strive to improve patient outcomes and create a safer, healthier future for all. Visit SHEA online at and

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