Prendergast and colleagues evaluated the oral health status of intubated patients in a neuroscience intensive care unit (ICU) through intubation and 48 hours after extubation, and described the effect of oral care on intracranial pressure (ICP). They found the following:
Pathogenic oropharyngeal bacteria and yeast increase over the duration of intubation.
Oral health deteriorates during intubation and improves almost to baseline levels 48 hours after extubation.
Ventilator-associated pneumonia rates increased as duration of intubation increased, from 25% on study day 4 to 46% on day 10.
Oral care was associated with no adverse effects in patients whose ICP was less than 20 mm Hg before oral care was instituted.
In patients whose ICP was higher than 20 mm Hg before oral care, ICP decreased 76% or remained stable during and after oral care.
See Article, pp 368–376
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