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Applying a thin layer of chlorhexidine (CHX) mixed in a paste, or a combination of CHX and colistin (COL), to the inside of the mouth decreases the risk of ventilator-assisted pneumonia (VAP), the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine reports. A group of 385 patients were randomly assigned paste mixtures, containing CHX 2% (127 patients) or CHX 2% plus COL 2% (128 patients), or placebo (130 patients), to be applied four times each day for a minimum of 2 days. Pneumonia occurred in 10% of CHX patients, 13% of those treated with CHX plus COL, and 18% of placebo patients. The data support oral decontamination as a beneficial and cost-effective method of preventing VAP.




Reuters Health. Frequent oral decontamination cuts risk of ventilator-assisted pneumonia. Available at: Accessed December 13, 2006.