Tsalik receives VA award to explore ventilator-associated pneumonia

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ephraim Tsalik, MD, PhD, medical instructor (Infectious Diseases), has received a VA Career Development Award through the VA's Clinical Sciences Research & Development Office.

Dr. Tsalik describes his research:

Every year, there are approximately 1.7 million healthcare-associated infections (HAI) leading to nearly 100,000 deaths. This is especially relevant to the VA Health System, which cares for older and sicker patients than the general population that are more likely to be hospitalized and have longer hospitalizations.

In particular, ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is associated with substantial morbidity, mortality, and cost to the healthcare system. Accurately identifying patients with VAP enables efforts to treat, track, and prevent such infections. Unfortunately, there is no well-validated, adequately reliable diagnostic for VAP, impeding several areas of clinical practice and research.

A better diagnostic strategy can accomplish several goals. It will improve monitoring of VAP events, which in turn informs prevention and infection control strategies. Second, a more sensitive diagnostic can identify patients most likely to benefit from prompt, appropriate, and adequate treatment. Finally, a VAP diagnostic with improved specificity can limit antibiotic overuse.