Hedberg P, Ternhag A, Giske CG, Strålin K, Özenci V, Johansson N, Spindler C, Hedlund J, Mårtensson J, Nauclér P
Crit Care Med - (-) - [2022-02-14; online 2022-02-14]
Ventilator-associated lower respiratory tract infections (VA-LRTIs) are associated with prolonged length of stay and increased mortality. We aimed to investigate the occurrence of bacterial VA-LRTI among mechanically ventilated COVID-19 patients and compare these findings to non-COVID-19 cohorts throughout the first and second wave of the pandemic. Retrospective cohort study. Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden. All patients greater than or equal to 18 years treated with mechanical ventilation between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2020. None. The cohort consisted of 20,223 ICU episodes (479 COVID-19), with a VA-LRTI incidence proportion of 30% (129/426) in COVID-19 and 18% (1,081/5,907) in non-COVID-19 among patients ventilated greater than or equal to 48 hours. The median length of ventilator treatment for COVID-19 patients was 10 days (interquartile range, 5-18 d), which was significantly longer than for all other investigated specific diagnoses. The VA-LRTI incidence rate per 1,000 ventilator days at risk was 31 (95% CI, 26-37) for COVID-19 and 34 (95% CI, 32-36) for non-COVID-19. With COVID-19 as reference, adjusted subdistribution hazard ratios for VA-LRTI was 0.29-0.50 (95% CI, < 1) for influenza, bacterial pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and severe sepsis, but 1.38 (95% CI, 1.15-1.65) for specific noninfectious diagnoses. Compared with COVID-19 in the first wave of the pandemic, COVID-19 in the second wave had adjusted subdistribution hazard ratio of 1.85 (95% CI, 1.14-2.99). In early VA-LRTI Staphylococcus aureus was more common and Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Escherichia coli less common in COVID-19 patients, while Serratia species was more often identified in late VA-LRTI. COVID-19 is associated with exceptionally long durations of mechanical ventilation treatment and high VA-LRTI occurrence proportions. The incidence rate of VA-LRTI was compared with the pooled non-COVID-19 cohort, however, not increased in COVID-19. Significant differences in the incidence of VA-LRTI occurred between the first and second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.