Exp Ther Med. 2020 Oct;20(4):3587-3594. doi: 10.3892/etm.2020.9103. Epub 2020 Aug 6.
Etiological diagnosis is essential for anti-infective therapy in patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). The present study aimed to evaluate the capacity of sequential PCR coupled to electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (PCR/ESI-MS) tests as a rapid diagnostic technique for patients with VAP. A total of 12 patients diagnosed with VAP were enrolled at the intensive care unit in Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University. Mini-bronchoalveolar lavage fluid specimens were prospectively collected on VAP 0, 5 and 10 days following the beginning of mechanical ventilation. Routine clinical culture and PCR/ESI-MS were compared for identification of microorganisms in the specimens. A total of 51 bacterial species were detected by either of the two methods. The positive rates of routine clinical culture and PCR/ESI-MS were 38.2 and 88.2%, respectively. Out of the 16 specimens positive in routine cultures, 15 were also positive on PCR/ESI-MS, except for one, from which a mix of three distinct bacterial isolates were reported by culture. Among the 50 bacterial species identified by PCR/ESI-MS, 15 (35.7%) of the common VAP pathogens were confirmed by paired culture. Furthermore, of the 16 bacterial isolates that were finally confirmed to be responsible for VAP, 14 were identified by a sequential PCR/ESI-MS test concurrently when the culture results were obtained. PCR/ESI-MS identified pathogens that may cause VAP in 8 subjects prior to the occurrence of associated clinical manifestations. To conclude, PCR/ESI-MS was a potential rapid technique for diagnosis of VAP within 6 h. Regular respiratory specimen monitoring using PCR/ESI-MS provides information for selecting appropriate and adequate antibiotic therapies in ventilated patients.