Date of Award

Fall 2002

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Dental Hygiene


Dental Hygiene

Committee Director

Michele L. Darby

Committee Member

Karin Loftin

Committee Member

Sharon Broscious

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.D46 B66 2002


The initial purpose of the study was to determine if a difference existed between nosocomial pneumonia rates for intubated patients who received twice daily oral hygiene care with 0.12% chlorhexidine gluconate and those who received the standard oral care while in the critical care unit (CCU). Over seven months (February - August), participants were identified through screening and consent procedures, and randomized into one of two groups. Over the seven months, only five subjects were enrolled. While in the study, twice-daily oral hygiene care consisting of brushing the cheeks, teeth and endotracheal tube with a suctioning toothbrush using an FDA approved 0.12% chlorhexidine gluconate antimicrobial agent with the experimental group (two intubated patients in the CCU). The control group (three intubated patients in the CCU) received the standard oral care utilizing a soft foam swab and half strength hydrogen peroxide. All oral care was performed by the nursing staff. The number of persons developing nosocomial pneumonia was monitored until hospital discharge. The results revealed that one person out of three in the control group was discharged from the hospital with a diagnosis of nosocomial (aspiration) pneumonia. Neither of the two subjects in the experimental group were diagnosed with nosocomial pneumonia. Findings suggest that twice-daily oral hygiene care with 0.12% chlorhexidine gluconate may reduce the risk of nosocomial pneumonia in intubated patients more than the six-times daily standard oral care protocol which does not include the use of an antimicrobial solution. However, the small size of the sample makes this finding inconclusive. This twice-daily oral hygiene care with 0.12% chlorhexidine gluconate may hold promise as a nosocomial pneumonia reduction strategy within hospital critical care units; however, its application requires further testing.


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