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Chest. 1995 Jul;108(1):203-7.

A comparison of bronchoscopic vs blind protected specimen brush sampling in patients with suspected ventilator-associated pneumonia.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Detroit Medical Center, USA.



Pneumonia is a common complication in patients undergoing mechanical ventilation and increases ICU mortality. The clinical diagnosis of ventilator-associated, however, pneumonia is unreliable, and many consider bronchoscopic-directed protected specimen brush sampling and quantitative culture the diagnostic method of choice. Bronchoscopy, however, is expensive and not readily available in many ICUs.


To test the hypothesis that "blind" protected specimen brush (PSB) sampling may produce results similar to that of bronchoscopic-directed sampling.


The medical ICU of a university-affiliated teaching hospital.


Patients with suspected ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) who had not received antibiotics for at least 48 h underwent "blind" and bronchoscopic-directed PSB sampling with quantitative culture.


Fifty-five paired PSB specimens were obtained from 53 patients. There was an 85% quantitative agreement between the blind and bronchoscopic-directed specimens. The agreement was independent of the bronchopulmonary segment from which the bronchoscopic sampling was directed.


The results of this study are consistent with the notion that blind PSB sampling and quantitative culture may prove to be a useful, cost-effective, and minimally invasive method of diagnosing VAP.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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