Aerosolized antibiotics in the intensive care unit

Clin Chest Med. 2011 Sep;32(3):559-74. doi: 10.1016/j.ccm.2011.05.012.


This review summarizes recent clinical data examining the use of aerosolized antimicrobial therapy for the treatment of respiratory tract infections in mechanically ventilated patients in the intensive care unit. Aerosolized antibiotics provide high concentrations of drug in the lung without the systemic toxicity associated with the intravenous antibiotics. First introduced in the 1960s as a treatment of tracheobronchitis and bronchopneumonia caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, now, more than 40 years later, there is a resurgence of interest in using this mode of delivery as a primary therapy for ventilator-associated tracheobronchitis and an adjunctive therapy for ventilator-associated pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Bronchitis / drug therapy
  • Bronchitis / microbiology
  • Critical Care*
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / drug therapy*
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / microbiology
  • Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated / drug therapy*
  • Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated / microbiology
  • Tracheitis / drug therapy
  • Tracheitis / microbiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents