The Predictive Value of Preliminary Bacterial Colony Counts from Bronchoalveolar Lavage in Critically Ill Trauma Patients

Mueller, Eric W.; Wood, Christopher G.; Kelley, Mark S.; Boucher, Bradley A.; Fabian, Timothy C.; Croce, Martin A.
September 2003
American Surgeon;Sep2003, Vol. 69 Issue 9, p749
Academic Journal
A common strategy for the diagnosis of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) includes quantitative cultures from bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). Often, empiric antibiotic therapy is initiated and continued until the final culture report. However, approximately 60 per cent of BAL cultures rule out VAP. Preliminary BAL results, obtained earlier, may identify these patients and allow early discontinuation of empiric antibiotics. This is desirable because unnecessary antibiotic therapy results in increased bacterial resistance, adverse drug events, and increased costs. The purpose of this study was to determine the value of preliminary BAL results for predicting final BAL results. A total of 1579 isolates from 868 BAL cultures over a 3-year period were analyzed. Preliminary and final colony counts for each isolate were categorized as either no growth (NG), insignificant (1-99,999 cfu/mL), or significant (≥100,000 cfu/mL). Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) of preliminary results were calculated based on individual isolates and individual BAL samples. The presence of concurrent antibiotic therapy was collected for all false-negative isolates. On preliminary report, there were 367 isolates with NG, 820 isolates with insignificant growth, and 392 isolates with significant growth. Overall preliminary culture results had a sensitivity of ∼90 per cent and specificity of >90 per cent for the presence of VAP. Preliminary culture results accurately predicted the presence or absence of VAP in 838 (96.5%) of the BALs performed. Individual isolates and BAL...


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