Despite the fact that the new guidelines advocate for sputum cultures, the yield was low:
The clinical predictors of positive sputum culture have not been previously reported in hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP), and data on yield of sputum culture in this setting are scant. Current Infectious Disease Society of America guidelines for HAP recommend noninvasive sputum sampling, though the data for this practice are limited. We assessed the yield of sputum culture in HAP cases at an academic medical center from January 2007 to July 2013. HAP cases were identified by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision-Clinical Modification codes for bacterial pneumonia and all cases were validated by chart review. Our cohort had 1172 hospitalizations with a HAP diagnosis. At least 1 sputum specimen was collected noninvasively and sent for bacterial culture after hospital day 2 and within 7 days of HAP diagnosis in 344 of these hospitalizations (29.4%), with a total of 478 sputum specimens, yielding 63 (13.2%) positive, 109 (22.8%) negative, and 306 (64.0%) contaminated cultures..