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Microbial diversity and antimicrobial susceptibility in endotracheal tube biofilms recovered from mechanically ventilated COVID-19 patients

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

In patients with acute respiratory failure, mechanical ventilation through an endotracheal tube (ET) may be required to correct hypoxemia and hypercarbia. However, biofilm formation on these ETs is a risk factor for infections in intubated patients, as the ET can act as a reservoir of microorganisms that can cause infections in the lungs. As severely ill COVID-19 patients often need to be intubated, a better knowledge of the composition of ET biofilms in this population is important. In Spring 2020, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe, 31 ETs were obtained from COVID-19 patients at Ghent University Hospital (Ghent, Belgium). Biofilms were collected from the ET and the biofilm composition was determined using culture-dependent (MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry and biochemical tests) and culture-independent (16S and ITS1 rRNA amplicon sequencing) approaches. In addition, antimicrobial resistance was assessed for isolates collected via the culture-dependent approach using disc diffusion for 11 antimicrobials commonly used to treat lower respiratory tract infections. The most common microorganisms identified by the culture-dependent approach were those typically found during lung infections and included both presumed commensal and potentially pathogenic microorganisms like Staphylococcus epidermidis, Enterococcus faecalis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans. More unusual organisms, such as Paracoccus yeei, were also identified, but each only in a few patients. The culture-independent approach revealed a wide variety of microbes present in the ET biofilms and showed large variation in biofilm composition between patients. Some biofilms contained a diverse set of bacteria of which many are generally considered as non-pathogenic commensals, whereas others were dominated by a single or a few pathogens. Antimicrobial resistance was widespread in the isolates, e. g. 68% and 53% of all isolates tested were resistant against meropenem and gentamicin, respectively. Different isolates from the same species recovered from the same ET biofilm often showed differences in antibiotic susceptibility. Our data suggest that ET biofilms are a potential risk factor for secondary infections in intubated COVID-19 patients, as is the case in mechanically-ventilated non-COVID-19 patients.
Tijdschrift: BIOFILM
ISSN: 2590-2075
Volume: 4
Jaar van publicatie:2022