Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2014 Nov 2;35(11):1342-8. Epub 2014 Oct 2.
Infectious Diseases Division, Internal Medicine Department, Ribeirão Preto Medical School, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
Objective: To evaluate whether dental treatment may enhance oral antisepsis, thus preventing more effectively lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) among critically ill patients.
Design: Observer-blind randomized clinical trial.
Setting: General intensive care unit (ICU) for adult patients.
Patients: We analyzed data from 254 adult patients who stayed for at least 48 hours in the ICU.
Intervention: Patients were randomized by means of rolling dice. The experimental group (n = 127) had access to dental care provided by a dental surgeon, 4-5 times a week. Besides routine oral hygiene, care also included teeth brushing, tongue scraping, removal of calculus, atraumatic restorative treatment of caries, and tooth extraction. The control group (n = 127) had access to routine oral hygiene only, which included the use of chlorhexidine as a mouth rinse, which was performed by the ICU nurse staff.
Results: The primary study outcome was the LRTI incidence, which was 8.7% in the experimental group and 18.1% in the control group (adjusted relative risk [RR], 0.44 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.20-0.96]; P = .04). Ventilator-associated pneumonia rates per 1,000 ventilator-days were 16.5 (95% CI, 9.8-29.5) in the control group and 7.6 (95% CI, 3.3-15.0) in the experimental group (P < .05). Mortality rates were similar between both study groups: 31.5% in the control group versus 29.1% in the experimental group (adjusted RR, 0.93 [95% CI, 0.52-1.65]; P = .796). No severe adverse events related to oral care were observed during the study.
Conclusion: Dental treatment was safe and effective in the prevention of LRTI among critically ill patients who were expected to stay at least 48 hours in the ICU.
Trial Registration: Brazilian Clinical Trials Registry, affiliated with the World Health Organization's International Clinical Trial Registry Platform: U1111-1152-2671.