Staphylococcus aureus ventilator-associated pneumonia in patients with COVID-19: clinical features and potential inference with lung dysbiosis

Gennaro De Pascale, Flavio De Maio, Simone Carelli, Giulia De Angelis, Margherita Cacaci, Luca Montini, Giuseppe Bello, Salvatore Lucio Cutuli, Gabriele Pintaudi, Eloisa Sofia Tanzarella, Rikardo Xhemalaj, Domenico Luca Grieco, Mario Tumbarello, Maurizio Sanguinetti, Brunella Posteraro, Massimo Antonelli

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


Background: Hospitalized patients with COVID-19 admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and requiring mechanical ventilation are at risk of ventilator-associated bacterial infections secondary to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our study aimed to investigate clinical features of Staphylococcus aureus ventilator-associated pneumonia (SA-VAP) and, if bronchoalveolar lavage samples were available, lung bacterial community features in ICU patients with or without COVID-19. Methods: We prospectively included hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across two medical ICUs of the Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS (Rome, Italy), who developed SA-VAP between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020 (thereafter referred to as cases). After 1:2 matching based on the simplified acute physiology score II (SAPS II) and the sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) score, cases were compared with SA-VAP patients without COVID-19 (controls). Clinical, microbiological, and lung microbiota data were analyzed. Results: We studied two groups of patients (40 COVID-19 and 80 non-COVID-19). COVID-19 patients had a higher rate of late-onset (87.5% versus 63.8%; p = 0.01), methicillin-resistant (65.0% vs 27.5%; p < 0.01) or bacteremic (47.5% vs 6.3%; p < 0.01) infections compared with non-COVID-19 patients. No statistically significant differences between the patient groups were observed in ICU mortality (p = 0.12), clinical cure (p = 0.20) and microbiological eradication (p = 0.31). On multivariable logistic regression analysis, SAPS II and initial inappropriate antimicrobial therapy were independently associated with ICU mortality. Then, lung microbiota characterization in 10 COVID-19 and 16 non-COVID-19 patients revealed that the overall microbial community composition was significantly different between the patient groups (unweighted UniFrac distance, R2 0.15349; p < 0.01). Species diversity was lower in COVID-19 than in non COVID-19 patients (94.4 ± 44.9 vs 152.5 ± 41.8; p < 0.01). Interestingly, we found that S. aureus (log2 fold change, 29.5), Streptococcus anginosus subspecies anginosus (log2 fold change, 24.9), and Olsenella (log2 fold change, 25.7) were significantly enriched in the COVID-19 group compared to the non–COVID-19 group of SA-VAP patients. Conclusions: In our study population, COVID-19 seemed to significantly affect microbiological and clinical features of SA-VAP as well as to be associated with a peculiar lung microbiota composition.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)197-N/A
RivistaCritical Care
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021


  • Bronchoalveolar lavage
  • COVID-19
  • Lung microbiota
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Ventilator-associated pneumonia


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