Alternative case definitions of ventilator-associated pneumonia identify different patients in a surgical intensive care unit

Joseph P. Minei, Kenneth Hawkins, Barbara Moody, Linda B. Uchal, Kathryn Joy, Laura L. Christensen, Robert W. Haley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Diagnostic criteria that define ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) remain controversial. The purpose of this study was to evaluate common definitions of VAP and determine their relationship to each other and clinical treatment. This study prospectively evaluated several diagnostic criteria that define VAP in a cohort of 255 consecutive SICU patients ventilated for < 48 h. Definitions evaluated include the CDC definitions, the Johanson definitions which do not rely on culture data, the Physician's Probable diagnosis which relies on positive quantitative cultures, and the antibiotic treatment group. Forty-four patients (17%) received antibiotic treatment for VAP. Depending on the definition evaluated, criteria were met for a diagnosis of VAP from as low as 4% of patients by the Johanson definition to as high as 48% of patients by the CDC definition. There was poor agreement among the definitions in their ability to select the same patient as having VAP. Besides duration of mechanical ventilation and tube feeding, which were risk factors that predicted meeting the criteria for all groups, risk factors predicting VAP varied among the definitions. This study demonstrates that in a surgical ICU, the candidate definitions of pneumonia evaluated show little agreement. The particular case definition chosen to diagnose VAP will determine the incidence rate of pneumonia, the time to onset of pneumonia, and the risk factors of the type of patient treated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-337
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2000


  • Diagnosis; mechanical ventilation; bronchoalveolar lavage
  • Epidemiologic methods
  • Nosocomial pneumonia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Alternative case definitions of ventilator-associated pneumonia identify different patients in a surgical intensive care unit'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this