Objectives: To establish the incidence, etiology, risk factors, and outcomes associated with ventilator-associated pneumonia using an invasive sampling technique to avoid contamination.
Patients: Eligible patients were intubated neonates treated with mechanical ventilation who followed the criteria of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance. Bronchoalveolar lavage samples were collected using a blind-protected catheter to avoid contamination of upper respiratory microorganisms. Isolation of >103 colony-forming unit/mL was required for diagnosis.
Measurements and Main Results: In 198 neonates intubated for >48 hrs, a total of 18 episodes of ventilator-associated pneumonia in 16 infants representing a prevalence of 8.1 were diagnosed. The pooled mean ventilator-associated pneumonia rate was 10.9/1,000 ventilator days. The mean age at diagnosis of ventilator-associated pneumonia was 29±15 days after a mean of 21±16 days of mechanical ventilation. Gram-negative bacteria were the most commonly isolated pathogens and Pseudomonas aeruginosa was the most frequent causative agent. Hospital length of stay was significantly longer for ventilator-associated pneumonia patients; however, no significant differences in mortality were found. Univariate analysis comparing patients with and without ventilator-associated pneumonia showed that days of mechanical ventilation, days of oxygen, number of reintubations, number of transfusions, bloodstream infection, and enteral feeding were all significantly associated with ventilator-associated pneumonia. However, in multivariate analysis the unique independent risk factor was days of mechanical ventilation (odds ratio 1.12, confidence interval 95% 1.07–1.17).
Conclusions: Ventilator-associated pneumonia is a frequent nosocomial infection in newborns. Only duration of mechanical ventilation has been identified as an independent risk factor for ventilator-associated pneumonia. The use of a blind invasive sampling technique seems to diminish sample contamination.