Objective: To compare the ability of four biomarkers to distinguish between those with ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) vs. lower respiratory tract bacterial colonization in mechanically ventilated intensive care unit (ICU) pediatric patients.
Design: Prospective, pilot cohort study.
Setting: Tertiary care children's hospital, pediatric ICU.
Patients: All pediatric ICU patients mechanically ventilated >48 hrs were eligible for enrollment between April 2006 to May 2007. Thirty-three patients were consecutively screened and enrolled after institutional consent process.
Measurements and Main Results: VAP was defined by both Centers for Disease and Prevention/National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance criteria and clinician diagnosis; those not meeting the criteria were considered to be colonized. Plasminogen activation inhibitor (PAI-1), soluble triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells, receptor for advanced glycation end-products, and surfactant protein D levels were measured in bronchoalveolar lavage samples on average within 24 hrs of suspicion for VAP, i.e., a positive screening endotracheal Gram stain. Sixteen patients were diagnosed with VAP and 17 met the criteria for colonization. PAI-1 was associated with VAP independent of age, sex, race, acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome, Pediatric Risk of Mortality 3 score, pediatric logistic organ dysfunction score, and duration of intubation. The receiver operating characteristics for PAI-1 showed good discrimination with an area under the curve of 0.82. PAI-1 levels of ≥2.8 ng/mL had a sensitivity of 81.3%, specificity of 76.5%, and positive likelihood ratio of 3.5. Levels of soluble triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells, receptor for advanced glycation end-products, and surfactant protein D were not significantly associated with VAP.
Conclusions: In mechanically ventilated pediatric ICU patients, PAI-1 is independently associated with the diagnosis of VAP. Real-time measurement of PAI-1 levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid may be of benefit in the early diagnosis and subsequent treatment of VAP in ICU patients.