The Utility of the Clinical Pulmonary Infection Score

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The most common infectious complication in critically ill patients is ventilator-associated pneumonia. Ventilator-associated pneumonia has significant morbidity and mortality, prolongs mechanical ventilation, and extends length of hospitalization. Despite its prevalence and impact, uniform diagnostic standards are lacking. The Centers for Disease Control, American Thoracic Society, and Infectious Diseases Society of America have recommended focus on improving preventive measures, establishing widely available and accurate diagnostic tools, and improving ventilator-associated pneumonia management with length of therapy guidelines. The purpose of this article is to review the evidence supporting the clinical pulmonary infection score as an adjunct to distinguish and detect clinically relevant ventilator-associated pneumonia and its use to guide length of therapy. This score combines clinical diagnostic criteria (tracheal secretion quantification and body temperature) with routinely obtained laboratory data (white blood cell count and oxygenation parameters), radiographic data, and bacteriological culture results. Limitations of clinical pulmonary infection score will be discussed.

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