Effect of aerosolized colistin as adjunctive treatment on the outcomes of microbiologically documented ventilator-associated pneumonia caused by colistin-only susceptible gram-negative bacteria

Chest. 2013 Dec;144(6):1768-1775. doi: 10.1378/chest.13-1018.


Background: The increasing frequency of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) caused by colistin-only susceptible (COS) gram-negative bacteria (GNB) is of great concern. Adjunctive aerosolized (AS) colistin can reportedly increase alveolar levels of the drug without increasing systemic toxicity. Good clinical results have been obtained in patients with cystic fibrosis, but conflicting data have been reported in patients with VAP.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective, 1:1 matched case-control study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of AS plus IV colistin vs IV colistin alone in 208 patients in the ICU with VAP caused by COS Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, or Klebsiella pneumoniae.

Results: Compared with the IV colistin cohort, the AS-IV colistin cohort had a higher clinical cure rate (69.2% vs 54.8%, P = .03) and required fewer days of mechanical ventilation after VAP onset (8 days vs 12 days, P = .001). In the 166 patients with posttreatment cultures, eradication of the causative organism was also more common in the AS-IV colistin group (63.4% vs 50%, P = .08). No between-cohort differences were observed in all-cause ICU mortality, length of ICU stay after VAP onset, or rates of acute kidney injury (AKI) during colistin therapy. Independent predictors of clinical cure were trauma-related ICU admission (P = .01) and combined AS-IV colistin therapy (P = .009). Higher mean Simplified Acute Physiology Score II (P = .002) and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (P = .05) scores, septic shock (P < .001), and AKI onset during colistin treatment (P = .04) were independently associated with clinical failure.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that AS colistin might be a beneficial adjunct to IV colistin in the management of VAP caused by COS GNB.

MeSH terms

  • Acinetobacter baumannii / isolation & purification
  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colistin / administration & dosage*
  • Colistin / adverse effects
  • Colistin / therapeutic use*
  • Critical Care
  • Female
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / isolation & purification
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patient Safety
  • Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated / drug therapy*
  • Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated / microbiology*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / isolation & purification
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventilators, Mechanical / microbiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Colistin