Rello J, Lisboa T, Koulenti D.; Lancet Respir Med. 2014 Sep;2(9):764-774.

Lower respiratory tract infections in mechanically ventilated patients are a frequent cause of antibiotic treatment in intensive-care units. These infections present as severe sepsis or septic shock with respiratory dysfunction in intubated patients. Purulent respiratory secretions are needed for diagnosis, but distinguishing between pneumonia and tracheobronchitis is not easy...

Both presentations are associated with longlasting mechanical ventilation and extended intensive-care unit stay, providing a rationale for antibiotic treatment initiation. Differentiation of colonisers from true pathogens is difficult, and microbiological data show Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa to be of great concern because of clinical outcomes and therapeutic challenges. Key management issues include identification of the pathogen, choice of initial empirical antibiotic, and decisions with regard to the resolution pattern.

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