A prospective study of 161 multiple trauma patients was carried out to determine the incidence, the causative agents, and the outcome of nosocomial respiratory tract infections in this highly selected population. Thirty-eight (23.6 percent) patients developed a nosocomial pneumonia (NP). In addition, there were four superinfections in three patients, representing an incidence of 26 percent (42 of 161). Incidence of NP was significantly greater among comatose patients (42.2 vs 13.3 percent, p<0.05). Furthermore, purulent tracheobronchitis was diagnosed in six patients. The causative agent of NP was identified in 36 (85.7 percent) episodes by means of fiberoptic bronchoscopies with protected specimen brush sampling. Staphylococcus aureus (55.8 percent) was the predominant pathogen isolated in multiple trauma patients in coma (Glasgow coma score [GCS] below 9 during a period greater than 24 h), while aerobic Gram-negative bacilli were responsible for the majority of cases in the remaining population studied. The overall mortality rate was 19.8 percent, but only five deaths were related to NP. We conclude that nosocomial respiratory tract infections are a frequent problem in multiple trauma patients, especially in those with GCS below 9, although this complication is associated with a relatively low mortality. Among patients with GCS below 9, S aureus was a frequent finding; consequently, antimicrobial therapy in this population needs to be different than that for the remaining multiple trauma patients with NP.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 1992|