Treatment of pneumonia in mechanically ventilated trauma patients: Results of a prospective trial

Hiram C. Polk, David H. Livingston, Donald E. Fry, Mark A. Malangoni, Timothy Fabian, Laura S. Trachtenberg, Sarah Appel Gardner, Lee Kesterson, William G. Cheadle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objectives: To determine the efficacy and magnitude of associated adverse effects of 2 different antibiotic regimens for the treatment of pneumonia in intubated surgical patients and to assay and compare blood samples and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid with respect to some host-defense parameters, especially in patients with unilateral pneumonia. Design: Randomized, prospective, unblinded clinical comparison of 2 treatment arms with respect to intent to treat and clinical and microbiologically evaluable patients. Setting: Six university surgical services in teaching hospitals with modern and well-staffed intensive care units. Interventions: The consistency and objectivity of the diagnosis of pneumonia was improved by the use of a grid of diagnostic parameters. Aggressive mechanical approaches to pneumonia in intubated surgical patients were supplemented by therapeutic use of aztreonam and vancomycin hydrochloride or combined imipenem and cilastatin sodium. Results: Patients randomized to the aztreonam-vancomycin group were somewhat more ill, fared slightly better, and had fewer serious drug-related side effects than did those treated with imipenem-cilastatin (all P>.05). Immunologic parameters assessed by evaluation of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid showed differences between infected pulmonary lobes and noninfected ones; some changes were also noted in patients who recovered compared with those whose pneumonia persisted or recurred. Conclusions: Clinical studies of pneumonia in surgical patients need to be stratified to assure comparability, to identify patients in whom treatment is likely to fail, and to display differences between more and less effective therapies. Studies of blood and bronchoalveolar lavage samples showed that certain local and systemic immunologic parameters correlate with clinical status and outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1086-1092
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Surgery
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


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