Journal Article

Ventilator-Associated Tracheobronchitis and Pneumonia: Thinking Outside the Box

Donald E. Craven and Karin I. Hjalmarson

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 51, issue Supplement_1, pages S59-S66
Published in print August 2010 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online August 2010 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1086/653051
Ventilator-Associated Tracheobronchitis and Pneumonia: Thinking Outside the Box

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Lower respiratory tract infections in intubated patients include ventilator-associated tracheobronchitis (VAT) and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). These infections are increasingly caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria, which colonize the patient's oropharynx and enter the lower respiratory tract around the endotracheal tube cuff or through the lumen. Progression of colonization to VAT and, in some patients, to VAP is related to the quantity, types, and virulence of invading bacteria versus containment by host defenses. Diagnostic criteria for VAT and VAP overlap in terms of clinical signs and symptoms, and they share similar microbiologic criteria when endotracheal sputum aspirate samples are used. In addition, the diagnosis of VAP requires a new and persistent infiltrate on a chest radiograph, which may be difficult to assess in critically ill patients, and a significant bacterial culture of a endtotracheal aspirate or bronchoalveolar lavage specimen. Current guidelines for the management of VAP strongly recommend the use of early, appropriate empirical antibiotic therapy based on patient risk factors for multidrug-resistant pathogens. An alternative model focused on VAT, using serial surveillance of endotracheal aspirate specimens to identify multidrug-resistant pathogens and their antibiotic susceptibilities, would allow earlier, targeted antibiotic treatment that could improve outcomes in patients, prevent VAP, and provide an attractive model for clinical research trials.

Journal Article.  4675 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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