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Dean Hess to Represent AARC on CDC Working Group on VAP Surveillance

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April 11, 2012

The Centers for Disease Control has asked the AARC to serve on a working group on VAP Surveillance. Dean Hess, PhD, RRT, FAARC, has been named as our representative to this CDC group, which is part of the National Healthcare Safety Network.

Dr. Hess currently serves as editor-in-chief of our science journal, RESPIRATORY CARE, as well as assistant director of respiratory care at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and associate professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School.

The CDC notes that healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are an important cause of preventable harm in hospitalized patients. Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is among the most common HAIs, but accurate surveillance for VAP is difficult because of the lack of objective, reliable, valid definitions.

As the AARC’s representative to the VAP Surveillance Definition Working Group, Dr. Hess will join representatives from six other organizations who have already started working in close collaboration with the CDC to improve surveillance for ventilator-associated events in adult patients. Included in the effort are the Critical Care Societies Collaborative, Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee Surveillance Working Group, Infectious Diseases Society of America, and Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

So far, the CDC working group has developed a new approach to surveillance for ventilator-associated conditions and complications that acknowledges the inaccuracies inherent in the diagnosis of VAP today and focuses instead on more general, objectively-defined measures of ventilator-associated conditions and complications.

The proposed, new surveillance definition algorithm for ventilator-associated events is expected to be implemented in the CDC’s HAI surveillance system, the National Healthcare Safety Network, in 2013. The new surveillance definition algorithm is not intended for use in the clinical management of patients.

For additional information, please contact Bill Dubbs at the AARC Executive Office at dubbs@aarc.org or 972-243-2272.