Use of aerosolized aminoglycosides in the treatment of Gram-negative ventilator-associated pneumonia

Alicia M Mohr, Ziad C Sifri, Helen S Horng, Ragui Sadek, Alisa Savetamal, Carl J Hauser, David H Livingston
Surgical Infections 2007, 8 (3): 349-57

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) in the surgical intensive care unit (ICU) is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. Affected patients are at higher risk for infection with multi-drug-resistant (MDR) pathogens, often necessitating therapeutic regimens of two parenteral antibiotics. Aerosolized antibiotics achieve high alveolar concentrations and have been reported anecdotally to have value in the treatment of VAP. This study examined the role of aerosolized aminoglycosides in the treatment of VAP in surgical ICU patients.

METHODS: We reviewed retrospectively the medical records of 22 patients who received aerosolized aminoglycosides in conjunction with parenteral antibiotics for VAP in the surgical ICU. Sixteen patients received inhaled tobramycin, and six received inhaled amikacin. Demographic information and data on the length of stay (LOS), mortality rate, days of antibiotic therapy, days of mechanical ventilation, and recurrence of VAP were collected. Results of bronchoscopic and sputum cultures were reviewed to identify bacterial pathogens and antimicrobial susceptibilities.

RESULTS: The average duration of mechanical ventilation was 31 +/- 12 days, the mean ICU LOS was 41 +/- 13 days, and the mean hospital LOS was 71 +/- 25 days. There were three deaths. The average duration of mechanical ventilation after initiation of aerosolized antibiotics was 4.3 days. Seven patients (40%) developed recurrent pneumonia with the same pathogen, but only one had a change in antibiotic susceptibility pattern. There were no renal or pulmonary complications of aminoglycoside treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Ventilator-associated pneumonia in critically ill patients is associated with substantial morbidity, longer ICU stays, and prolonged mechanical ventilation. Along with systemic therapy, aerosolized aminoglycosides are valuable adjuncts in select patients with minimal risk of antibiotic resistance.

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