Purpose of review
Nosocomial pneumonia represents a significant burden even for the most resilient healthcare systems. Timely and reliable diagnosis is critical but remains a deficient field. This review critically revises the latest literature on the diagnosis of nosocomial pneumonia, including advances in imaging techniques, as well as the utility of rapid microbiological tests in establishing the etiological diagnosis.
Studies on low radiation computed tomography (CT) and lung ultrasound (LUS) have shown promising results for early nosocomial pneumonia diagnosis; however, further data on their sensitivity and specificity are needed, especially for picking up subtle and nonspecific radiographic findings. Moreover, data supporting their superiority in pneumonia diagnosis is still limited. As for microbiological diagnosis, several culture-independent molecular diagnostic techniques have been developed, identifying both causative microorganisms as well as determinants of antimicrobial resistance, but more studies are needed to delineate their role in nosocomial pneumonia diagnosis.
The development of nonculture dependent tests has launched a new era in microbiological nosocomial pneumonia diagnosis. These modalities along with the use of LUS and/or low radiation CT might improve the sensitivity and specificity of nosocomial pneumonia diagnosis, enhance early detection and guide the antimicrobial therapy but more studies are needed to further evaluate them and determine their role for the routine clinical practice.