The University of Louisville Journal of Respiratory Infections


Background: Sepsis is a clinical syndrome associated with organ dysfunction due to a dysregulated host response to infection. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a serious infection frequently associated with sepsis. The objectives of this study were to define the incidence of sepsis and clinical failure in patients with MRSA VAP.

Methods: This was a secondary analysis of the Improving Medicine through Pathway Assessment of Critical Therapy in Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia (IMPACT-HAP) study database. VAP was defined according to CDC criteria. MRSA VAP was considered when MRSA was isolated from a tracheal aspirate or bronchoalveolar lavage. We used the 3rd International Consensus Definitions for sepsis. The presence of clinical failure was evaluated at the 14-day follow-up and defined as: 1) progression of baseline signs and symptoms of pneumonia, or 2) death. The Chi- Square Trend Test was utilized to determine the association between the level of organ dysfunction and clinical failure.

Results: MRSA VAP was diagnosed in 205 patients with 138 (67%) presenting with sepsis. Clinical failure occurred in 14% (8/57) of patients without sepsis. Clinical failure occurred in 18% (13/73) of patients with sepsis and 1 organ dysfunction, in 28% (12/43) of patients with sepsis and 2 organ dysfunction, in 28% (5/18) of patients with sepsis and 3 organ dysfunction, and in 100% (4/4) of patients with sepsis and 4 organ dysfunction (p= 0.01).

Conclusions: Sepsis is a frequent complication of MRSA VAP and the number of organ dysfunction correlates with clinical failure in these patients. Effective prevention and treatment of sepsis and associated organ dysfunction is essential to avoid cumulative burden of disease in MRSA VAP.


Funding for this study was provided by Pfizer Inc. The University of Louisville Foundation was responsible for project oversight and distribution of funds to participating institutions.



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