Subglottic secretion drainage for ventilator-associated pneumonia prevention: an underused efficient measure

Jean-Claude Lacherade, Marie-Ange Azais, Caroline Pouplet, Gwenhael Colin


Subglottic secretion drainage (SSD) is one of the recommended strategies to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) with a high level of evidence, especially regarding early-onset pneumonia. All meta-analysis found that the use of SSD reduces VAP occurrence with a relative risk (RR) reduction of 45%. In some of them, SSD reduces the duration of mechanical ventilation (MV) but without beneficial effect on intensive care unit (ICU) or hospital mortality. In spite of the edited recommendations, SSD has not been widely implemented in ICUs and remains underused. Several factors could account for this: doubts on the innocuousness of using SSD, persisting reservations on the SSD effect on other outcomes than VAP, a high variability in the volume of secretions suctioned between patients and, for each individual patient, during the period of MV and the initial increased expense of the specific endotracheal tubes (ETs) allowing SSD which limits the availability of these devices.