Diagnostic accuracy of pulmonary host inflammatory mediators in the exclusion of ventilator-acquired pneumonia.

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Morris, Andrew Conway 
McAuley, Daniel F 
Walsh, Timothy S 
Anderson, Niall H 

BACKGROUND: Excessive use of empirical antibiotics is common in critically ill patients. Rapid biomarker-based exclusion of infection may improve antibiotic stewardship in ventilator-acquired pneumonia (VAP). However, successful validation of the usefulness of potential markers in this setting is exceptionally rare. OBJECTIVES: We sought to validate the capacity for specific host inflammatory mediators to exclude pneumonia in patients with suspected VAP. METHODS: A prospective, multicentre, validation study of patients with suspected VAP was conducted in 12 intensive care units. VAP was confirmed following bronchoscopy by culture of a potential pathogen in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) at >10(4) colony forming units per millilitre (cfu/mL). Interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), IL-8, matrix metalloproteinase-8 (MMP-8), MMP-9 and human neutrophil elastase (HNE) were quantified in BALF. Diagnostic utility was determined for biomarkers individually and in combination. RESULTS: Paired BALF culture and biomarker results were available for 150 patients. 53 patients (35%) had VAP and 97 (65%) patients formed the non-VAP group. All biomarkers were significantly higher in the VAP group (p<0.001). The area under the receiver operator characteristic curve for IL-1β was 0.81; IL-8, 0.74; MMP-8, 0.76; MMP-9, 0.79 and HNE, 0.78. A combination of IL-1β and IL-8, at the optimal cut-point, excluded VAP with a sensitivity of 100%, a specificity of 44.3% and a post-test probability of 0% (95% CI 0% to 9.2%). CONCLUSIONS: Low BALF IL-1β in combination with IL-8 confidently excludes VAP and could form a rapid biomarker-based rule-out test, with the potential to improve antibiotic stewardship.

Pneumonia, Biomarkers, Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid, Cytokines, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated, Prospective Studies, Reproducibility of Results
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Chief Scientist Office (CAF/08/13)
Wellcome Trust (094949/Z/10/Z)