Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Silver Coated Breathing Tubes may Save Lives

According to the August 20 publication of Journal of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), using breathing tubes (endotracheal tubes) lined with silver may help save lives by preventing pneumonia in patients who require mechanical ventilation for more than twenty-four hours. The associated term is ventilator acquired pneumonia (VAP), a condition that contributes to a significant number of deaths in patients who require assisted breathing in a hospital setting, such as the intensive care unit.

The silver lining in the tube acts by reducing "VAP incidence by preventing bacterial colonization and biofilm formation". Colloidal silver has long been touted by naturopaths as the “antibiotic of the future”, and researchers have continued to develop the application in lieu of antibiotics.

The researchers screened 9417 adult patients between 2002 and 2006, randomizing 2003 of those who were expected to require mechanical ventilation for 24 hours or longer. According to the study conclusions, “Patients receiving a silver-coated endotracheal tube had a statistically significant reduction in the incidence of VAP and delayed time to VAP occurrence compared with those receiving a similar, uncoated tube.” The incidence of infection in the coated and uncoated tubes was 4.8% and 7.5% respectively. The participants were 18 years of age or older, and both males and females were included.

The findings of the study are valuable and timely when considering the ever increasing emergence of multi-drug resistant infections.

Silver-Coated Endotracheal Tubes and Incidence of Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia