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Saturday 9:39 CST, July 4, 2015

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Sentinel Event Alert, Issue 25: Preventing ventilator-related deaths and injuries

February 26, 2002

sea 25 ventilatorAs of January 2002, the Joint Commission has reviewed 23 reports of deaths or injuries related to long term ventilation--19 events resulted in death and four in coma. Of the 23 cases, 65 percent were related to the malfunction or misuse of an alarm or an inadequate alarm; 52 percent were related to a tubing disconnect; and 26 percent were related to dislodged airway tube. A small percentage of the cases were related to an incorrect tubing connection or wrong ventilator setting. None of the cases were related to ventilator malfunctions. As the percentages indicate, ventilator-related deaths and injuries are often related to multiple failures that lead to negative outcomes. The majority of the cases occurred in hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs), followed by long term care facilities and hospital chronic ventilator units.