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Another Swing at the Windmill of VAP

Sorry, folks, but I have been so swamped with work that I have been unable to produce anything cogent here. I see today as a gift day, as my plans to travel to SHEA were foiled by mother nature’s sense of humor. So, here I am trying to catch up on some reading and writing before the next big thing. To be sure, I have not been wasting time, but have completed some rather interesting analyses and ruminations, which, if I am lucky, I will be able to share with you in a few weeks.

Anyhow, I am finally taking a very close look at the much touted Keystone VAP prevention study. I have written quite a bit about VAP prevention here, and my diatribes about the value proposition of “evidence” in this area are well known and tiresome to my reader by now. Yet, I must dissect the most recent installment in this fallacy-laden field, where random chance occurrences and willful reclassifications are deemed causal of dramatic performance improvements.

So, the paper. Here is the link to the abstract, and if you subscribe to the journal, you can read the whole study. But fear not, I will describe it to you in detail.

In its design it was quite similar to the central line-associated blood stream infection prevention study published in the New England Journal in 2006, and similarly the sample frame included Keystone ICUs in Michigan. Now, recall that the reason this demonstration project happened in Michigan is because of their astronomical healthcare-associated infection (HAI) rates. Just to digress briefly, I am sure you have all heard of MRSA; but have you heard of VRSA? VRSA stands for vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA’s even more troubling cousin, vancomycin being a drug that MRSA is susceptible to. Now, thankfully, VRSA has not yet emerged as an endemic phenomenon, but of the handful of cases of this virtually untreatable scourge that has been reported, Michigan has had plurality of them. So, you get the picture: Michigan is an outlier (and not in the desirable direction) when it comes to HAIs.Continue reading…

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