This article reviews the new definitions of pneumonia, discusses risk factors for pneumonia among trauma patients, presents the latest evidence for prevention strategies, discusses the best ways to make the diagnosis, and reviews the microbiology and treatment for trauma patients with pneumonia.
Pneumonia can be prevented by decreasing the duration of mechanical ventilation using daily paired spontaneous awakening and breathing trials, but not with early tracheostomy placement. Other useful prevention strategies include semirecumbent positioning and oral care. Mini-BAL is a sensitive and specific means of securing the diagnosis of pneumonia that does not require a physician to be present and is therefore especially useful in busy trauma centers.
Pneumonia is a frequent complication among trauma patients. Risk factors are largely unmodifiable. However, trauma centers can institute routine daily paired spontaneous awakening and breathing trials to decrease the duration of ventilation and incidence of pneumonia. Future research is needed to further characterize the microbiology of pneumonia among trauma patients.