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Highly Accessed Open Badges Letter

Number needed to treat for subglottic secretion drainage technology as a ventilator-associated pneumonia prevention strategy

Scott D Kelley

Author Affiliations

Respiratory and Monitoring Solutions, Covidien, 6135 Gunbarrel Dr., Boulder, CO 80301, USA

Critical Care 2012, 16:446  doi:10.1186/cc11464

Published: 4 September 2012


The number needed to treat can be calculated for ventilator-associated pneumonia reduction strategies such as subglottic secretion drainage technology based on previous work establishing its relative risk reduction. Assuming an incidence of 4%, employing subglottic secretion drainage in 33 patients will prevent one case of ventilator-associated pneumonia, and thus potentially 4 cases annually in an average hospital in the United States. With a previously described limit of £300 ($470 USD) additional cost per 10 days of ventilation as a threshold of investment for technologies to reduce ventilator-associated pneumonia, subglottic secretion drainage technology is both clinically and cost effective.