Non-ventilator-associated hospital-acquired pneumonia (NV-HAP) is a common and deadly hospital-acquired infection. However, inconsistent surveillance methods and unclear estimates of attributable mortality challenge prevention.
To estimate the incidence, variability, outcomes, and population attributable mortality of NV-HAP.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS
This cohort study retrospectively applied clinical surveillance criteria for NV-HAP to electronic health record data from 284 US hospitals. Adult patients admitted to the Veterans Health Administration hospital from 2015 to 2020 and HCA Healthcare hospitals from 2018 to 2020 were included. The medical records of 250 patients who met the surveillance criteria were reviewed for accuracy.
NV-HAP, defined as sustained deterioration in oxygenation for 2 or more days in a patient who was not ventilated concurrent with abnormal temperature or white blood cell count, performance of chest imaging, and 3 or more days of new antibiotics.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES
NV-HAP incidence, length-of-stay, and crude inpatient mortality. Attributable inpatient mortality by 60 days follow-up was estimated using inverse probability weighting, accounting for both baseline and time-varying confounding.
Among 6 022 185 hospitalizations (median [IQR] age, 66 [54-75] years; 1 829 475 [26.1%] female), there were 32 797 NV-HAP events (0.55 per 100 admissions [95% CI, 0.54-0.55] per 100 admissions and 0.96 per 1000 patient-days [95% CI, 0.95-0.97] per 1000 patient-days). Patients with NV-HAP had multiple comorbidities (median [IQR], 6 [4-7]), including congestive heart failure (9680 [29.5%]), neurologic conditions (8255 [25.2%]), chronic lung disease (6439 [19.6%]), and cancer (5,467 [16.7%]); 24 568 cases (74.9%) occurred outside intensive care units. Crude inpatient mortality was 22.4% (7361 of 32 797) for NV-HAP vs 1.9% (115 530 of 6 022 185) for all hospitalizations; 12 449 (8.0%) were discharged to hospice. Median [IQR] length-of-stay was 16 (11-26) days vs 4 (3-6) days. On medical record review, pneumonia was confirmed by reviewers or bedside clinicians in 202 of 250 patients (81%). It was estimated that NV-HAP accounted for 7.3% (95% CI, 7.1%-7.5%) of all hospital deaths (total hospital population inpatient death risk of 1.87% with NV-HAP events included vs 1.73% with NV-HAP events excluded; risk ratio, 0.927; 95% CI, 0.925-0.929).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE
In this cohort study, NV-HAP, which was defined using electronic surveillance criteria, was present in approximately 1 in 200 hospitalizations, of whom 1 in 5 died in the hospital. NV-HAP may account for up to 7% of all hospital deaths. These findings underscore the need to systematically monitor NV-HAP, define best practices for prevention, and track their impact.