Craven DE, Hudcova J, Craven KA, Scopa C, Lei Y.: Curr Opin Crit Care. 2014 Oct;20(5):532-41.

Purpose of review: To evaluate the data on antimicrobial therapy for ventilator-associated tracheobronchitis (VAT) to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), and its impact on patient outcomes.

Recent findings: Mechanically ventilated patients are at increased risk for tracheal colonization with bacterial pathogens that may progress to VAT and/or VAP. Previous studies suggest that 10–30% of patients with VAT progress to VAP, which results in increased morbidity but not mortality. Several natural history studies and small randomized controlled trials and a meta-analysis reported that appropriate, pre-emptive antibiotic treatment for VAT reduces VAP, duration of intubation and length of ICU stay.

Summary: This review focuses on diagnostic criteria for VAT and VAP, etiologic agents, rationale and benefits of initiating pre-emptive, appropriate antibiotic treatment for VAT to prevent VAP, improve patient outcomes and associated acute and chronic healthcare costs.

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