Early optimal antimicrobial therapy is an essential part of the successful management of ventilator-associated pneumonia because inadequate initial therapy is consistently associated with increased mortality.
Standard bacterial isolation, followed by identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing usually takes no fewer than 2 to 3 days in the microbiology laboratory. An early report based on the results obtained directly by plating LRT secretions with 6 E-test strips is associated with better antibiotic use, less antimicrobial misuse, and a decrease in antimicrobial-related adverse events. New molecular methods are being developed.
Rapid, even imprecise information from the microbiology laboratory may be of greater value than delayed and more precise information in patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia.