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N Engl J Med. 2004 Jan 29;350(5):451-8.

Soluble triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells and the diagnosis of pneumonia.

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  • 1Service de Réanimation Médicale, Hôpital Central, Nancy, France.



The diagnosis and treatment of bacterial pneumonia in patients who are receiving mechanical ventilation remain a difficult challenge. The triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells (TREM-1) is a member of the immunoglobulin superfamily, and its expression on phagocytes is specifically up-regulated by microbial products. The presence of soluble TREM-1 (sTREM-1) in bronchoalveolar-lavage fluid from patients receiving mechanical ventilation may be an indicator of pneumonia.


We conducted a prospective study of 148 patients receiving mechanical ventilation in whom infectious pneumonia was suspected. A rapid immunoblot technique was used to measure sTREM-1 in bronchoalveolar-lavage fluid. Two independent intensivists who were unaware of the results of the sTREM-1 assay determined whether community-acquired pneumonia and ventilator-associated pneumonia were present or absent.


The final diagnosis was community-acquired pneumonia in 38 patients, ventilator-associated pneumonia in 46 patients, and no pneumonia in 64 patients. The presence of sTREM-1 by itself was more accurate than any clinical findings or laboratory values in identifying the presence of bacterial or fungal pneumonia (likelihood ratio, 10.38; sensitivity, 98 percent; specificity, 90 percent). In multiple logistic-regression analysis, the presence of sTREM-1 was the strongest independent predictor of pneumonia (odds ratio, 41.5).


In patients receiving mechanical ventilation, rapid detection of sTREM-1 in bronchoalveolar-lavage fluid may be useful in establishing or excluding the diagnosis of bacterial or fungal pneumonia.

Copyright 2004 Massachusetts Medical Society

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