Experimental and therapeutic medicine

Microbial investigations in throat swab and tracheal aspirate specimens are beneficial to predict the corresponding endotracheal tube biofilm flora among intubated neonates with ventilator-associated pneumonia.

PMID 28810610


Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a common nosocomial infection in neonatal intensive care units with high morbidity and mortality. Bacterial biofilm in the endotracheal tube (ET) provides a notable and persistent source of pathogens that may cause VAP, and thus is important for VAP detection. However, during intubation microbial investigations in ET, samples are unavailable due to the infeasibility of collecting ET samples during intubation of neonates. It is therefore of great importance to find alternative sources of samples that can help identify the ET biofilm flora. In the present study, the microbial signatures of throat swabs and tracheal aspirates were compared with ET biofilm samples from VAP neonates using 16S ribosomal RNA gene polymerase chain reaction, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), cloning and sequencing. Sequences were assigned to phylogenetic species using BLAST. Microbial diversity and richness among the three types of specimens were compared based on their DGGE fingerprints, and taxonomic characteristics based on the BLAST results. The microbial richness and diversity of ET biofilms were similar to tracheal aspirate yet significantly different from throat swab samples (P<0.05). Compared with ET biofilms, the overall constituent ratio of microflora was significantly different in throat swab and tracheal aspirate samples (P<0.05). However tracheal aspirate samples were useful for predicting