Impact of adherence to standard operating procedures for pneumonia on outcome of intensive care unit patients

Crit Care Med. 2009 Jan;37(1):159-66. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0b013e3181934f1b.


Background: Pneumonia accounts for almost half of intensive care unit (ICU) infections and nearly 60% of deaths from nosocomial infections. It increases hospital stay by 7-9 days, crude mortality by 70% and attributable mortality by 30%.

Objective: Our purpose was to assess the impact of standard operating procedures adapted to the local resistance rates in the initial empirical treatment for pneumonia on duration of first pneumonia episode, duration of mechanical ventilation, and length of ICU stay.

Design: Prospective observational cohort study with retrospective expert audit.

Setting: Five anesthesiologically managed ICUs at University hospital (one cardio-surgical, one neurosurgical, two interdisciplinary, and one intermediate care).

Patients: Of 524 consecutive patients with > or = 36 hr ICU treatment 131 patients with pneumonia on ICU were identified. Their first pneumonia episode was evaluated daily for adherence to standard operating procedures. Pneumonia was diagnosed according to the American Thoracic Society guidelines. Patients with > 70% compliance were assigned to high adherence group (HAG), patients with < or = 70% to low adherence group (LAG).

Measurements and results: HAG consisted of 45 (49 first episode) patients, LAG of 86 (82 first episode) patients, respectively. Mean duration of treatment of the first pneumonia episode was 10.11 +/- 7.95 days in the LAG and 6.22 +/- 3.27 days in the HAG (p = 0.001). Duration of mechanical ventilation was 317.59 +/- 336.18 hrs in the LAG and 178.07 +/- 191.33 hrs in the HAG (p = 0.017). Length of ICU stay was 20.24 +/- 16.59 days in the LAG and 12.04 +/- 10.42 days in the HAG (p = 0.001).

Limitations: Barriers in compliance need further evaluation.

Conclusion: Adherence to standard operating procedure is associated with a shorter duration of treatment of first pneumonia episode, a shorter duration of mechanical ventilation, and a shorter ICU stay.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Protocols / standards
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / drug therapy*
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / therapy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents