Objective This article aims to characterise intubation-associated pneumonia regarding its diagnosis, causes, risk factors, consequences and incidence. Research methodology Integrative literature review using database Pubmed and B-on and webpages of organisations dedicated to this area of study. Setting The research took place between May and July 2015. After selection of the articles, according to established criteria, their quality was assessed and 17 documents were included. Results Evidence has demonstrated that intubation associated pneumonia has a multifactorial aetiology and one of its main causes is micro-aspiration of gastric and oropharynx contents. Risk factors can be internal or external. The diagnostic criteria are based on clinical, radiological and microbiological data, established by several organisations, including the European Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, which are, however, still not accurate. In recent years, there has been a downward trend in the incidence in Europe. Nevertheless, it continues to have significant economic impact, as well as affecting health and human lives. Conclusions Several European countries are committed to addressing this phenomenon through infection control and microbial resistance programmes; however there is a much to be done in order to minimise its effects. The lack of consensus in the literature regarding diagnosis criteria, risk factors and incidence rates is a limitation of this study.