Bronchoscopy in ventilator-associated pneumonia: Agreement of calibrated loop and serial dilution

Bekele Afessa, Rolf D. Hubmayr, Emily A. Vetter, Mark T. Keegan, Karen L. Swanson, Larry M. Baddour, Franklin R. Cockerill, Steve G. Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Rationale: Although the serial dilution technique for quantitative culture of bronchoalveolar fluid is considered to be the gold standard for the diagnosis of ventilator-associated pneumonia, it is more labor intensive than the calibrated loop technique. Objective: We sought to determine the agreement between the calibrated loop and serial dilution techniques in the diagnosis of ventilator-associated pneumonia. Methods: We prospectively measured bacterial colony counts by the serial dilution and calibrated loop techniques in 121 bronchoalveolar lavage samples of 104 patients with suspected ventilator-associated pneumonia. Measurements and Main Results: At the time of bronchoscopy, patients had received mechanical ventilation for a median of 8 d. Patients were receiving antibiotics when 90 of the 121 (74.4%) bronchoalveolar samples were obtained. The colony counts of 13 bacterial isolates were too numerous to count by the calibrated loop technique; by serial dilution technique, their counts ranged from 4.70 to 6.74 log10 cfu/ml. Fifty other bacteria had paired colony counts measured by each of the two techniques: the bias (95% confidence interval) between the two techniques was -0.380 (-0.665 to -0.095) log10 cfu/ml, with precision of 1.002 log10 cfu/ml and 95% limits of agreement of -2.344 to 1.584 log10 cfu/ml. Using the threshold of 4 log10 cfu/ml as a criterion for the diagnosis of ventilator-associated pneumonia, there was discordance only for one bacterial organism between the two techniques. Conclusions: The calibrated loop technique can be used for the diagnosis of ventilator-associated pneumonia using bronchoalveolar lavage fluid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1229-1232
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006


  • Bronchoalveolar lavage
  • Calibrated loop
  • Critical care
  • Serial dilution
  • Ventilator-associated pneumonia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Bronchoscopy in ventilator-associated pneumonia: Agreement of calibrated loop and serial dilution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this