Epidemiology of ventilator-acquired pneumonia based on protected bronchoscopic sampling

David L. George, Pamela S. Falk, Richard G. Wunderink, Kenneth V. Leeper, G. Umberto Meduri, Elaine L. Steere, Cathy E. Corbett, C. Glen Mayhall

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167 Scopus citations


We performed a prospective observational cohort study of the epidemiology and etiology of nosocomial pneumonia in 358 medical ICU patients in two university-affiliated hospitals. Protected bronchoscopic techniques (protected specimen brush and bronchoalveolar lavage) were used for diagnosis to minimize misclassification. Risk factors for ventilator-associated pneumonia were identified using multiple logistic regression analysis. Twenty-eight cases of pneumonia occurred in 358 patients for a cumulative incidence of 7.8% and incidence rates of 12.5 cases per 1,000 patient days and 20.5 cases per 1,000 ventilator days. Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Hemophilus species made up 65% of isolates from the lower respiratory tract, whereas only 12.5% of isolates were enteric gram-negative bacilli. Daily surveillance cultures of the nares, oropharynx, trachea, and stomach demonstrated that tracheal colonization preceded ventilator-associated pneumonia in 93.5%, whereas gastric colonization preceded tracheal colonization for only four of 31 (13%) eventual pathogens. By multiple logistic regression, independent risk factors for ventilator-associated pneumonia were admission serum albumin ≤ 2.2 g/dl (odds ratio [OR] 5.9; 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.0-17.6; p = 0.0013), maximum positive end-expiratory pressure ≥ 7.5 cm H2O (OR, 4.6; 95% CI, 1.4 to 15.1; p = 0.012), absence of antibiotic therapy (OR, 6.7; 95% CI, 1.8 to 25.3; p = 0.0054), colonization of the upper respiratory tract by respiratory gram-negative bacilli (OR, 3.4; 95% CI, 1.1 to 10.1; p = 0.028), pack-years of smoking (OR, 2.3 for 50 pack-years; 95% CI, 1.2 to 4.2; p = 0.012), and duration of mechanical ventilation (OR, 3.4 for 14 d; 95% CI, 1.5 to 7.8; p = 0.0044). Several of these risk factors for ventilator-associated pneumonia appear amenable to intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1839-1847
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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