For patients

Critically ill patients whose lungs are supported by breathing machines (ventilators) commonly develop a new lung infection, called ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). Because VAP is a severe infection that can be fatal, antibiotics are administered whenever it is suspected. However VAP is hard to distinguish from several non-infective lung conditions and most patients with suspected VAP do not have infection. Therefore many patients receive unnecessary antibiotics for several days, promoting emergence of ‘superbugs’. Current laboratory test results for diagnosing VAP typically only reach the doctors after 3 days.

A simple test that rapidly and confidently excludes VAP could improve patient care, reduce unnecessary antibiotics and decrease costs.

We have recently shown that low levels of specific proteins (biomarkers) in fluid from the lungs of patients with suspected VAP can effectively exclude VAP. This is a rapid test, returning a result in 6 hours. The value of these biomarkers to rule-out VAP has been shown in two separate studies.

The aim of VAPrapid-2 is to find out whether the biomarker test can improve the way in which antibiotics are prescribed in patients with suspected VAP.