Treatment of multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) with intravenous colistin: a comparison with imipenem-susceptible VAP

Clin Infect Dis. 2003 May 1;36(9):1111-8. doi: 10.1086/374337. Epub 2003 Apr 14.


We prospectively evaluated the efficacy and toxicity of intravenously administered colistin in 35 episodes of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) due to multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii. Microbiological diagnosis was performed with use of quantitative culture. In 21 patients, the episodes were caused by a strain susceptible exclusively to colistin (the CO group) and were all treated with this antimicrobial intravenously. In 14 patients, the episodes were caused by strains that remained susceptible to imipenem and were treated with imipenem-cilastatin (the IM group). Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II scores at the time of admission and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment scores at time of diagnosis were similar in both groups. VAP was considered clinically cured in 57% of cases in both groups. In-hospital mortality rates were 61.9% in the CO group and 64.2% in the IM group, and the VAP-related mortality rates were 38% and 35.7%, respectively. Four patients in the CO group and 6 in the IM group developed renal failure. Neurophysiological evaluation was performed during 12 episodes in the CO group, but it revealed no signs of neuromuscular blockade. Intravenous colistin appears to be a safe and effective alternative to imipenem for the management of VAP due to carbapenem-resistant strains of A. baumannii.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acinetobacter Infections / complications
  • Acinetobacter Infections / drug therapy*
  • Acinetobacter Infections / microbiology
  • Acinetobacter baumannii / drug effects*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Colistin / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imipenem / therapeutic use
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia / complications
  • Pneumonia / drug therapy*
  • Pneumonia / microbiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Renal Insufficiency / etiology
  • Ventilators, Mechanical


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Imipenem
  • Colistin