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Microbes Infect. 2005 Feb;7(2):292-301. Epub 2005 Jan 8.

Respiratory nosocomial infections in the medical intensive care unit.

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Institut Clínic de Pneumologia i Cirurgia Toracica, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, "Escalera 12. Sotano" C, Villarroel, 170, Barcelona 08036, Spain.


Intensive care unit (ICU)-acquired lower respiratory tract infections include acute tracheobronchitis and hospital-acquired and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). Nosocomial pneumonia is the second most common hospital-acquired infection and the leading cause of death in hospital-acquired infections. The mortality rate in VAP ranges from 24% to 76% in several studies. ICU ventilated patients with VAP have a 2- to 10-fold higher risk of death than patients without it. Early oropharyngeal colonization is pivotal in the etiopathogenesis of VAP. The knowledge of risk factors for VAP is important in developing effective preventive programs. Once the physician decides to treat a suspected episode of ICU-acquired pneumonia, some issues should be kept on mind: first, the adequacy of the initial empiric antibiotic therapy; second, the modification of initial inadequate therapy according to microbiological results; third, the benefit of combination therapy; and finally, the duration of the antimicrobial treatment. Additionally, a protocolized work-up to identify the causes of non-response to treatment is mandatory. All these issues are discussed in depth in this article.

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