Non–ventilator-associated hospital-acquired pneumonia is a preventable health care–associated infection accounting for 1 in 14 hospital deaths. Clinical factors influencing this condition include oral health and bacteria and oral care. This case report addresses diagnostics and clinical variables related to non–ventilator-associated hospital-acquired pneumonia and emphasizes the importance of prevention.

Clinical Findings

A 90-year-old woman was admitted to the hospital with shortness of breath and generalized weakness from new-onset atrial fibrillation and suspected heart failure exacerbation. During the hospitalization, her oral health status declined and oral bacterial colonization shifted, with Neisseria becoming the most common oral bacterial genus around the time of development of probable non–ventilator-associated hospital-acquired pneumonia.


The patient had new respiratory symptoms and a chest radiograph positive for pneumonia on day 4 and was subsequently diagnosed with probable non–ventilator-associated hospital-acquired pneumonia.


Intravenous antibiotic treatment was initiated. Oral care was completed on only 2 of 7 days. The patient received limited ambulation assistance and encouragement from staff and family members. No dysphagia screening was documented.


On day 6, the patient was discharged with oral antibiotics to her independent living facility with home health care.


Consistent oral care, early and frequent physical activity, and measures aimed to reduce aspiration risk are key interventions for all hospitalized patients to prevent non–ventilator-associated hospital-acquired pneumonia. Further research is warranted to assess shifts in oral bacteria and general oral health during hospitalization, which could provide clinically meaningful data on risk for non–ventilator-associated hospital-acquired pneumonia.

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