Blood product transfusion and ventilator-associated pneumonia in trauma patients

Grant V. Bochicchio, Lena Napolitano, Manjari Joshi, Kelly Bochicchio, Diane Shih, Walter Meyer, Thomas M. Scalea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Background: Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is the most common nosocomial infection in trauma patients, with a high mortality rate. Blood transfusion has been identified as an independent risk factor for VAP in critically ill patients. Prior studies in trauma are limited by retrospective design, lack of multivariable analyses, and scant data on the timing of transfusion. We examined critically the relation between blood product transfusion and VAP in trauma patients. Methods: Prospective observational cohort study of 766 trauma patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), who received mechanical ventilation (MV) for ≥ 48 h, and who did not have pneumonia on admission. Late-onset VAP was defined as that occurring ≥ 72 h after MV. Only transfusions of red blood cell (RBC) concentrate, fresh-frozen plasma (FFP), or platelets before the onset of VAP were considered. Logistic regression analyses controlled for all variables related significantly to VAP by univariate analysis (sex, Injury Severity Score, and ventilator days and ICU length of stay prior to VAP). Results: A significantly greater proportion of male patients developed VAP. Patients with VAP had a longer duration of MV: The mean number ventilator days prior to VAP was 11.1 ± 8.0. Transfusion of blood products was an independent risk factor for VAP, and the risk increased with more units transfused. All blood products were associated with a higher risk of VAP (RBC: odds ratio [OR] 4.41; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.00, 19.54; p = 0.05; FFP: OR 3.34; 95% CI 1.18, 9.43; p = 0.023; platelets: OR 4.19; 95% CI 1.37, 12.83; p = 0.012). Conclusion: Blood product transfusion is an independent risk factor for VAP in trauma, and the odds ratio is significantly higher (3.34-4.41) than in published studies of other types of ICU patients (1.89). To reduce the incidence of VAP, all efforts to reduce the transfusion of blood products to trauma patients should be implemented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-422
Number of pages8
JournalSurgical Infections
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Microbiology (medical)


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