The diagnosis of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) recurrence in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia is challenging, and the incidence of recurrence is high. This study aimed to investigate the incidence and recurrence of VAP. Furthermore, we investigated the causative microorganisms of VAP and recurrent VAPs in patients with COVID-19. This retrospective, single-centre case series study was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic from October 2020 to June 2021 at VieCuri MC Venlo. VAP and recurrent VAP were defined based on three criteria (clinical, radiological, and microbiological). During the study period, 128 mechanically ventilated patients with COVID-19 were included. The incidence ranged from 9.2 to 14 VAP/1000 ventilator days, which was higher than that in the non-COVID-19 controls. The most commonly cultured microorganisms in VAP were Pseudomonas (9/28; 32%), Klebsiella (8/28; 29%), Escherichia coli (5/28; 18%), and Staphylococcus aureus (5/28; 18%). VAP recurred often (5/19, 26%). The overall VAP rate confirmed previous findings of an increased incidence of VAP in critically ill patients with severe COVID-19 requiring mechanical ventilation. VAP recurrences occur often and are mainly relapses. A duration of antibiotic therapy longer than 7 days and therapeutic drug monitoring should be considered for VAP caused by Gram-negative microorganisms.
Keywords: COVID-19; causative microorganism; incidence; mechanical ventilation; recurrence; ventilator-associated pneumonia.