JOURNAL ARTICLE

De-escalation therapy in ventilator-associated pneumonia

Jordi Rello, Loreto Vidaur, Alberto Sandiumenge, Alejandro Rodríguez, Belen Gualis, Carmen Boque, Emili Diaz
Critical Care Medicine 2004, 32 (11): 2183-90
15640629

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate de-escalation of antibiotic therapy in patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia.

DESIGN: Prospective observational study during a 43-month period.

SETTING: Medical-surgical intensive care unit.

PATIENTS: One hundred and fifteen patients admitted to the intensive care unit with clinical diagnosis of ventilator-associated pneumonia. All the episodes of ventilator-associated pneumonia received initial broad-spectrum coverage followed by reevaluation according to clinical response and microbiology. Quantitative cultures obtained by bronchoscopic examination or tracheal aspirates were used to modify therapy.

INTERVENTIONS: : None.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: One hundred and twenty-one episodes of ventilator-associated pneumonia were diagnosed. Change of therapy was documented in 56.2%, including de-escalation (the most frequent cause) in 31.4% (increasing to 38% if isolates were sensitive). Overall intensive care unit mortality rate was 32.2%. Inappropriate antibiotic therapy was identified in 9% of cases and was associated with 14.4% excess intensive care unit mortality. Quantitative tracheal aspirates and bronchoscopic samples (58 protected specimen brush and three bronchoalveolar lavage) were associated with 32.7% and 29.5% intensive care unit mortality and 29.3% and 34.4% de-escalation rate. De-escalation was lower (p < .05) in the presence of nonfermenting Gram-negative bacillus (2.7% vs. 49.3%) and in the presence of late-onset pneumonia (12.5% vs. 40.7%). When the pathogen remained unknown, half of the patients died and de-escalation was not performed.

CONCLUSION: De-escalation was the most important cause of antibiotic modification, being more feasible in early-onset pneumonia and less frequent in the presence of nonfermenting Gram-negative bacillus. The impact of quantitative tracheal aspirates or bronchoscopic techniques was comparable in terms of mortality.

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