Objectives: To demonstrate that blind insertion of the protected telescoping catheter (PTC-NB) through the orotracheal tube can provide reliable pulmonary samples for the diagnosis of nosocomial pneumonia (NP) in ventilated patients.
Design: We performed a random comparison between the protected telescoping catheter introduced through a bronchofiberscope (PTC-B) and the PTC-NB to diagnose NP.
Setting: A general intensive care unit of a University Hospital.
Patients: 40 consecutive patients on mechanical ventilation and with suspicion of NP. The diagnosis of NP was suspected by clinical and chest X-ray findings.
Measurements and results: NP was confirmed microbiologically in 26 (65%) patients and maintained in 8 patients by clinical and radiological criteria. PTC-NB confirmed the microbiological diagnosis of PN in 21 (80%) patients. The use of antibiotics prior taking respiratory samples reduced the sensitivity of PTC-NB and PTC-B from 100-74% and from 94-70% (p = 0.001). Both techniques agreed in 24 of 33 (73%) patients but such agreement was better when PN was on the right lung. Two patients developed a self-limiting hemoptysis after the PTC-B procedure.
Conclusions: PTC-NB is as sensitive as specific as PTC-B for diagnosing PN in mechanically ventilated patients, being a much easier technique to use.