Microbial contamination of non-invasive ventilation devices used by adults with cystic fibrosis

J Hosp Infect. 2012 Jun;81(2):104-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2012.03.004. Epub 2012 May 10.


Background: There is currently little evidence regarding potential risks of bacterial contamination of non-invasive ventilation (NIV) devices used by cystic fibrosis (CF) patients.

Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the extent of bacterial contamination of NIV devices in our regional adult CF centre.

Methods: Seven NIV devices recently used by CF patients chronically infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Burkholderia cepacia complex (BCC) were swabbed in seven areas, both external and internal. Two devices had undergone ethylene oxide (EtO) sterilization between patient use and swabbing, and five devices had not undergone EtO sterilization.

Findings: Swabs from five devices had insignificant growth of environmental organisms and two devices had significant growth of environmental organisms. No CF pathogens were isolated from any machine.

Conclusions: No evidence was found of pathogenic microbial contamination of NIV devices used by CF patients in this small study. We suggest that further studies examine for evidence of bacterial contamination of NIV devices and that this issue should be included in future CF infection control guidelines.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Burkholderia Infections / therapy*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Pseudomonas Infections / therapy*
  • Ventilators, Mechanical / microbiology*