Wake Up & Breathe Collaborative

The Wake Up & Breathe Collaborative aimed to reduce the number of complications associated with ventilator use (ventilator-associated events, or VAE), including pneumonia, a leading cause of healthcare-associated infection in the U.S., through interventions meant to decrease mechanical ventilation days. A ventilator is a machine that is used to help a patient breathe by giving oxygen through a tube placed in a patient’s mouth or nose, or through a hole in the front of the neck. An infection may occur if germs enter through the tube and get into the patient’s lungs.

VAE can extend patient stays in the intensive care unit (ICU) by up to 14 days, and can add to the cost of a patient’s hospital stay. Before this study, little was known about VAE prevention and how to accurately measure the impact of prevention efforts. The study examined how better sedation practices could prevent VAE, and whether a new measure for VAE was helpful for tracking progress in protecting patients on ventilators from adverse events.

Prevention Epicenter Collaborators

  • Cook County Health and Hospital Systems and Rush University
  • Duke University
  • Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare and University of California, Irvine
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Washington University in St. Louis

Results of the Study

A prevention strategy and tracking system to measure its progress was designed to help get patients off ventilators sooner and improve recovery time. As a result, patients recovered faster, and got out of the ICU and the hospital sooner. CDC incorporated this new measurement guide to track improvements in ventilator care and prevention into CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) for U.S. hospitals.

Visit CDC’s website to learn more about ventilator-associated pneumonia or NHSN surveillance for ventilator-associated events.