Concurrent bacterial infection and prolonged mechanical ventilation in infants with respiratory syncytial virus lower respiratory tract disease

MCJ Kneyber*, HB van Oud-Alblas, M van Vliet, CSPM Uiterwaal, JLL Kimpen, AJ van Vught

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objective: To identify demographic, clinical, and laboratory variables predictive for a concurrent bacterial pulmonary infection in ventilated infants with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) lower respiratory tract disease (LRTD) and investigate antimicrobial drug use. Design and setting: Retrospective, observational study in a 14-bed pediatric intensive care unit. Patients: 82 infants younger than 1 year of age with a virologically confirmed RSV LRTD during 1996-2001, of whom 65 were mechanically ventilated. Results: Microbiological data were available from 38 ventilated infants, 10 of whom had a positive blood culture (n=1) or endotracheal aspirate (n=9) obtained upon admission to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). Infants with a positive culture had a lower mean gestational age but were otherwise demographically comparable to those with negative culture results. Infants with a positive culture were ventilated 4 days longer. Indicators for a concurrent bacterial infection were comparable between ventilated and nonventilated infants. Antimicrobial drugs were used in 95.1% of infants (100% of ventilated infants) with a mean duration of 7.8± 0.3 days. The moment of initiation and duration of antimicrobial drug treatment varied considerably. Conclusions: We observed in ventilated infants a low occurrence of concurrent bacterial pulmonary infection, but infants with positive cultures needed prolonged ventilatory support. Improvement in the diagnosis of a pulmonary bacterial infection is warranted to reduce the overuse of antimicrobial drugs among ventilated infants with RSV LRTD and to restrict these drugs to the proper patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)680-685
Number of pages6
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May-2005


  • respiratory syncytial virus
  • mechanical ventilation
  • antibiotics
  • concurrent bacterial infection
  • infants
  • RISK

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