Purpose of review: Recent articles of clinical interest on Pseudomonas aeruginosa respiratory tract infections including CAP, nosocomially-acquired pneumonia, particularly in the ventilated patient, and chronic infections in cystic fibrosis patients are reviewed.
Recent findings: The growing importance of P. aeruginosa as an etiologic agent of CAP, the occurrence of CAP in previously healthy adults and its high prevalence as an etiologic agent of late VAP are stressed in recent studies. The effect of antibiotics on the recovery of bacteria in respiratory samples of patients with VAP can be marked and as early as 12 h after administration of antimicrobials certain organisms are no longer cultivable; in contrast, P. aeruginosa can still be recovered even after 48 h of adequate therapy. Type III secretory proteins are recognized as important virulent factors in P. aeruginosa. This phenotype predicts a worse outcome in patients with VAP. Fluoroquinolones have a major role in the emergence of multiply resistant P. aeruginosa in patients with VAP. Pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic parameters of antimicrobials with antipseudomonal activity are gaining importance as a means of optimization of antibiotic therapy. In CF, the knowledge of the pharmacokinetics and bioavailability of inhaled tobramycin and its long term beneficial effect in lung function are important developments in this area.
Summary: P. aeruginosa continues to be a serious problem worldwide as a cause of respiratory tract infections in selected populations. Microbiologic diagnosis remains difficult and plagued with pitfalls. The application of modern PK/PD concepts should help to optimize antibiotic therapy of this increasingly difficult to treat infection, particularly at the respiratory tract level and with an increasing prevalence of resistance to all antipseudomonal agents. Inhaled antibiotics, particularly tobramycin, are increasingly used for the prevention and treatment of P. aeruginosa infection in CF patients.