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Surveillance Cultures in Respiratory Tract InfectionsSurveillance Cultures in Respiratory Infections: Are They Useful?

Sanjay Sethi, MD
Author and Funding Information

From the Division of Pulmonary/Critical Care/Sleep Medicine, University at Buffalo, State University of New York; and the Veterans Affairs Western New York Healthcare System, Buffalo, NY.

Correspondence to: Sanjay Sethi, MD, VA Medical Research-151, 3495 Bailey Ave, Buffalo, NY 14215; e-mail: ssethi@buffalo.edu


Financial/nonfinancial disclosures: The author has reported to CHEST that no potential conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (http://www.chestpubs.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2012 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2012;141(3):577-578. doi:10.1378/chest.11-1796
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Extract

For patients with disrupted lung defense  mechanisms against respiratory infections, it is just a matter of time before they experience their next infectious episode. Knowing the pathogen causing the next episode at its onset would allow treatment with the appropriate antibiotic as the initial empiric choice. “Appropriate antibiotic” in this context means that the antibiotic(s) administered at the doses chosen “cover” the pathogens recovered in culture at the time of infection. Appropriate empiric antibiotic treatment of severe community-acquired pneumonia and ventilator-associated pneumonia has been associated with a significant improvement in mortality in several retrospective studies.1,2 Although such data are not available for patients with exacerbations of chronic airway diseases such as cystic fibrosis (CF), chronic tracheostomy, bronchiectasis, and COPD, it is likely that inappropriate antibiotic treatment contributes to treatment failures, the need for additional antimicrobial treatment, and increased length of stay.

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