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January 2, 1981

Viridans Streptococcal Pneumonia

Author Affiliations

Veterans Administration Medical Center and The Medical College of Wisconsin Milwaukee

JAMA. 1981;245(1):32. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310260016015

To the Editor.—  Pratter and Irwin (1980;243:2515) recently described two patients with viridans streptococcal pulmonary parenchymal infections. The organism was recovered in pure culture from a percutaneous transtracheal aspirate in both patients and from a percutaneous lung aspirate and the pleural fluid in one patient. Blood cultures were sterile. Although their laboratory did not speciate these organisms, they suggested that viridans streptococci isolated from these sources be speciated in the future. We agree with this approach but would comment on our recent experience in isolating these organisms from transtracheal aspirates.The physician house staff at our hospital are encouraged to perform a percutaneous transtracheal aspiration on patients with a clinical diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia who are either unable to produce a representative sputum specimen or in whom a Gram's stain of a sputum smear is inconclusive. The culture results of all aspirates submitted between Dec 1, 1977, and Feb 29, 1980,