The primary objective of this multicenter, observational, retrospective study was to assess the incidence rate of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients in intensive care units (ICU). The secondary objective was to assess predictors of 30-day case-fatality of VAP. From 15 February to 15 May 2020, 586 COVID-19 patients were admitted to the participating ICU. Of them, 171 developed VAP (29%) and were included in the study. The incidence rate of VAP was of 18 events per 1000 ventilator days (95% confidence intervals [CI] 16-21). Deep respiratory cultures were available and positive in 77/171 patients (45%). The most frequent organisms were Pseudomonas aeruginosa (27/77, 35%) and Staphylococcus aureus (18/77, 23%). The 30-day case-fatality of VAP was 46% (78/171). In multivariable analysis, septic shock at VAP onset (odds ratio [OR] 3.30, 95% CI 1.43-7.61, p = 0.005) and acute respiratory distress syndrome at VAP onset (OR 13.21, 95% CI 3.05-57.26, p < 0.001) were associated with fatality. In conclusion, VAP is frequent in critically ill COVID-19 patients. The related high fatality is likely the sum of the unfavorable prognostic impacts of the underlying viral and the superimposed bacterial diseases.
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; VAP; coronavirus; ventilation.