Epidemiology and microbiology of ventilator-associated pneumonia in COVID-19 patients: a multicenter retrospective study in 188 patients in an un-inundated French region

Crit Care. 2021 Feb 18;25(1):72. doi: 10.1186/s13054-021-03493-w.


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for many hospitalizations in intensive care units (ICU), with widespread use of invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV) which exposes patients to the risk of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). The characteristics of VAP in COVID-19 patients remain unclear.

METHODS: We retrospectively collected data on all patients hospitalized for COVID-19 during the first phase of the epidemic in one of the seven ICUs of the Pays-de-Loire region (North-West France) and who were on invasive mechanical ventilation for more than 48 h. We studied the characteristics of VAP in these patients. VAP was diagnosed based on official recommendations, and we included only cases of VAP that were confirmed by a quantitative microbiological culture.

FINDINGS: We analyzed data from 188 patients. Of these patients, 48.9% had VAP and 19.7% experienced multiple episodes. Our study showed an incidence of 39.0 VAP per 1000 days of IMV (until the first VAP episode) and an incidence of 33.7 VAP per 1000 days of IMV (including all 141 episodes of VAP). Multi-microbial VAP accounted for 39.0% of all VAP, and 205 pathogens were identified. Enterobacteria accounted for 49.8% of all the isolated pathogens. Bacteremia was associated in 15 (10.6%) cases of VAP. Pneumonia was complicated by thoracic empyema in five cases (3.5%) and by pulmonary abscess in two cases (1.4%). Males were associated with a higher risk of VAP (sHR 2.24 CI95% [1.18; 4.26] p = 0.013).

INTERPRETATION: Our study showed an unusually high incidence of VAP in patients admitted to the ICU for severe COVID-19, even though our services were not inundated during the first wave of the epidemic. We also noted a significant proportion of enterobacteria. VAP-associated complications (abscess, empyema) were not exceptional.

REGISTRATION: As an observational study, this study has not been registered.

PMID:33602296 | DOI:10.1186/s13054-021-03493-w