Open Access Open Badges Research article

Long-term medical utilization following ventilator-associated pneumonia in acute stroke and traumatic brain injury patients: a case-control study

Chih-Chieh Yang1, Nai-Ching Shih1, Wen-Chiung Chang2, San-Kuei Huang3 and Ching-Wen Chien4*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Emergency Medicine and Traumatology, Lotung Poh-Ai Hospital, No.83, Nan Chang St., Lotung, Yilan 265, Taiwan

2 Institute of Health Policy and Management, National Taiwan University, No.17, Hsu-Chow Rd., Taipei, Taiwan

3 Bureau of National Health Insurance, Department of Health, Executive Yuan, Taiwan, ROC, No.140, Sec. 3, Hsinyi Rd., Taipei, Taiwan

4 Institute of Hospital and Health Care Administration, National Yang-Ming University, No.155, Sec. 2, Linong St., Beitou District, Taipei, Taiwan

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BMC Health Services Research 2011, 11:289  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-289

Published: 31 October 2011



The economic burden of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) during the index hospitalization has been confirmed in previous studies. However, the long-term economic impact is still unclear. The aim of this study is to examine the effect of VAP on medical utilization in the long term.


This is a retrospective case-control study. Study subjects were patients experiencing their first traumatic brain injury, acute hemorrhagic stroke, or acute ischemic stroke during 2004. All subjects underwent endotracheal intubation in the emergency room (ER) on the day of admission or the day before admission, were transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) and were mechanically ventilated for 48 hours or more. A total of 943 patients who developed VAP were included as the case group, and each was matched with two control patients without VAP by age ( ± 2 years), gender, diagnosis, date of admission ( ± 1 month) and hospital size, resulting in a total of 2,802 patients in the study. Using robust regression and Poisson regression models we examined the effect of VAP on medical utilization including hospitalization expenses, outpatient expenses, total medical expenses, number of ER visits, number of readmissions, number of hospitalization days and number of ICU days, during the index hospitalization and during the following 2-year period.


Patients in the VAP group had higher hospitalization expenses, longer length of stay in hospital and in ICU, and a greater number of readmissions than the control group patients.


VAP has a significant impact on medical expenses and utilization, both during the index hospitalization during which VAP developed and in the longer term.

ventilator-associated pneumonia; medical utilization; longitudinal study; ICU; traumatic brain injury; acute hemorrhagic stroke; acute ischemic stroke