Purpose of review
Successful treatment of patients with hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) remains a difficult and complex undertaking. Better knowledge of the pathogens involved in that setting may allow reassessment of our current modalities of therapy and definition of better protocols.
Microorganisms responsible for HAP/VAP differ according to geographic areas, ICU patients’ specific characteristics, durations of hospital and ICU stays before onset of the disease, and risk factors for MDR pathogens. However, a number of studies have shown that Gram-negative bacilli (GNB) – particularly Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacteriaceae – cause many of the respiratory infections in this setting, with minimal differences between HAP and VAP, indicating that the cause depends more on the underlying clinical condition of patients rather than previous intubation.
When selecting initial antimicrobial therapy in patients with HAP/VAP, more attention should be paid to individual risk factors for MDR pathogens, severity of the clinical situation, and the local epidemiology than to the type of pneumonia.