Early nonbronchoscopic bronchoalveolar lavage: Predictor of ventilator-associated pneumonia?

Christian Todd Minshall, Evert A. Eriksson, Kenneth S. Hawkins, Steven Wolf, Joseph P. Minei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Ventilator-associated pneumonia is a problem in trauma and emergency general surgery patients. Our hospital-acquired infection prevention committee approved the use of early nonbronchoscopic bronchoalveolar lavage (screening-BAL) in the surgical intensive care unit (SICU) to identify ventilated patients with bronchiolar bacteria before 48 hours. We reviewed the results of this quality improvement initiative. METHODS: All ventilated patients in the SICU (March 2011 to June 2012) underwent a screening-BAL 36 hours to 48 hours after intubation; quantitative culture results (95 - 104 colony-forming unit per milliliter) were used to identify positive specimens. Clinical pneumonia was defined as clinical pulmonary infection score greater than 6 with a subsequent positive diagnostic-BAL result. Sequential organ failure assessment scores were averaged for the first 48 hours in the SICU. Continuous and dichotomous data were compared, and a multivariate regression analysis was performed on the screening-BAL and pneumonia results. RESULTS: Screening-BALswere performed in 150 patients (99 trauma and 51 emergency general surgery patients), 72 of these specimens had positive findings. Fifty-three clinical pneumonias were diagnosed, and 45 (positive predictive value, 0.85) identified the same organism as the screening-BAL. Clinical pneumonia developed in eight patients with a negative screening-BAL (negative predictive value, 0.85). Antibiotic therapy at the time of the screening-BAL was associated with a negative screen (odds ratio, 0.44; p = 0.026). Pneumonia developed on median postintubation Day 4 (2-15 days) in patients with a positive screening-BAL results as compared with day 7.5 in the patients with a negative screening-BAL results (3.5-15 days; p = 0.007). Field intubation is an independent risk factor (odds ratio, 3.5; p = 0.004). CONCLUSION: Positive screening-BAL results in trauma and emergency general surgery patients are associated with the development of ventilator-associated pneumonia by the same organism and may play a role in identifying patients at risk for pneumonia. Further studies must be conducted to evaluate the role of screening-BAL in this patient population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)448-453
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Bronchoalveolar lavage
  • Surgical intensive care unit
  • Ventilator-associated pneumonia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Surgery


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