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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Role of soluble triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells-1 for diagnosing ventilator-associated pneumonia after cardiac surgery: an observational study

Alessandra K Matsuno1 and Ana PCP Carlotti12*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Ribeirão Preto Medical School, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil

2 Department of Pediatrics, Hospital das Clínicas, Ribeirão Preto Medical School, University of São Paulo, Avenida dos Bandeirantes, 3900, 14049-900 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil

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BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2013, 13:107  doi:10.1186/1471-2261-13-107

Published: 1 December 2013



The diagnosis of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a challenge, particularly after cardiac surgery. The use of biological markers of infection has been suggested to improve the accuracy of VAP diagnosis. We aimed to evaluate the usefulness of soluble triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells (sTREM)-1 in the diagnosis of VAP following cardiac surgery.


This was a prospective observational cohort study of children with congenital heart disease admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) after surgery and who remained intubated and mechanically ventilated for at least 24 hours postoperatively. VAP was defined by the 2007 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria. Blood, modified bronchoalveolar lavage (mBAL) fluid and exhaled ventilator condensate (EVC) were collected daily, starting immediately after surgery until the fifth postoperative day or until extubation for measurement of sTREM-1.


Thirty patients were included, 16 with VAP. Demographic variables, Pediatric Risk of Mortality (PRISM) and Risk Adjustment for Congenital Heart Surgery (RACHS)-1 scores, duration of surgery and length of cardiopulmonary bypass were not significantly diferent in patients with and without VAP. However, time on mechanical ventilation and length of stay in the PICU and in the hospital were significantly longer in the VAP group. Serum and mBAL fluid sTREM-1 concentrations were similar in both groups. In the VAP group, 12 of 16 patients had sTREM-1 detected in EVC, whereas it was undetectable in all but two patients in the non-VAP group over the study period (p = 0.0013) (sensitivity 0.75, specificity 0.86, positive predictive value 0.86, negative predictive value 0.75, positive likelihood ratio (LR) 5.25, negative LR 0.29).


Measurement of sTREM-1 in EVC may be useful for the diagnosis of VAP after cardiac surgery.

Triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells-1; Ventilator-associated pneumonia; Diagnosis; Cardiac surgery; Postoperative