Role of early foldscopy (microscopy) of endotracheal tube aspirates in deciding restricted empirical therapy in ventilated patients

Indian J Med Microbiol. 2021 Sep 1:S0255-0857(21)04183-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmmb.2021.08.004. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: Prevention of healthcare-associated infections (HAI) like ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) is particularly challenging especially in resource limited settings. Complex microbial interactions between patients and health care workers (HCWs) further complicate the situation, requiring a holistic approach for successful management. To bridge the gap between laboratory and intensive care unit (ICU) this study was conducted to find the role of hand-held microscope 'Foldscope' in restricting empirical therapy in intubated patients.

METHODS: A total of 75 endotracheal aspirates (ETA) were collected from intubated patients in the ICU with (group 1) and without (group 2) VAP. For group 2, those with less than 48 ​h ventilation and with endotracheal tube (ETT) in situ were considered. Presence of biomass was detected through foldscope and ETA samples were processed for quantitative gram staining (QGS), semi-quantitative and quantitative culture. Phenotypic and genotypic characterization of Acinetobacter baumannii, the commonest isolate, was done and findings were statistically analysed.

RESULTS: Biomass was present as seen through a foldscope in 45 cases (90%) in group 1 and 17 cases (68%) in group 2. In both the groups, A. baumannii was the most common isolate. Biomass production, significant QGS and culture was significantly more in group 1 (p ​< ​0.05). However, carbapenem resistant A. baumannii (CRAB) was comparably present in both the groups thus showing limited role of empirical carbapenem therapy.

CONCLUSIONS: Early assessment of biomass in mechanically ventilated patients could provide guidance for empirical antibiotic therapy. Foldscope proved to be an excellent tool for restricting empirical therapy and driving antimicrobial stewardship in low resource settings.

PMID:34481691 | DOI:10.1016/j.ijmmb.2021.08.004