Diagnostic and prognostic prediction models in ventilator-associated pneumonia: Systematic review and meta-analysis of prediction modelling studies

J Crit Care. 2022 Feb;67:44-56. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2021.10.001. Epub 2021 Oct 18.


Purpose: Existing expert systems have not improved the diagnostic accuracy of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). The aim of this systematic literature review was to review and summarize state-of-the-art prediction models detecting or predicting VAP from exhaled breath, patient reports and demographic and clinical characteristics.

Methods: Both diagnostic and prognostic prediction models were searched from a representative list of multidisciplinary databases. An extensive list of validated search terms was added to the search to cover papers failing to mention predictive research in their title or abstract. Two authors independently selected studies, while three authors extracted data using predefined criteria and data extraction forms. The Prediction Model Risk of Bias Assessment Tool was used to assess both the risk of bias and the applicability of the prediction modelling studies. Technology readiness was also assessed.

Results: Out of 2052 identified studies, 20 were included. Fourteen (70%) studies reported the predictive performance of diagnostic models to detect VAP from exhaled human breath with a high degree of sensitivity and a moderate specificity. In addition, the majority of them were validated on a realistic dataset. The rest of the studies reported the predictive performance of diagnostic and prognostic prediction models to detect VAP from unstructured narratives [2 (10%)] as well as baseline demographics and clinical characteristics [4 (20%)]. All studies, however, had either a high or unclear risk of bias without significant improvements in applicability.

Conclusions: The development and deployment of prediction modelling studies are limited in VAP and related outcomes. More computational, translational, and clinical research is needed to bring these tools from the bench to the bedside.

Registration: PROSPERO CRD42020180218, registered on 05-07-2020.

Keywords: Exhaled human breath; Machine learning; Mechanical ventilation; Predictive analytics; Prognostic model; Ventilator-associated pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Bias
  • Humans
  • Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated* / diagnosis
  • Prognosis