Community-Acquired Pneumonia in Adults: Diagnosis and Management.
Community-acquired pneumonia is a leading cause of death. Risk factors include older age and medical comorbidities. Diagnosis is suggested by a history of cough, dyspnea, pleuritic pain, or acute functional or cognitive decline, with abnormal vital signs (e.g., fever, tachycardia) and lung examination findings. Diagnosis should be confirmed by chest radiography or ultrasonography. Validated prediction scores for pneumonia severity can guide the decision between outpatient and inpatient therapy. Using procalcitonin as a biomarker for severe infection may further assist with risk stratification. Most outpatients with community-acquired pneumonia do not require microbiologic testing of sputum or blood and can be treated empirically with a macrolide, doxycycline, or a respiratory fluoroquinolone. Patients requiring hospitalization should be treated with a fluoroquinolone or a combination of beta-lactam plus macrolide antibiotics. Patients with severe infection requiring admission to the intensive care unit require dual antibiotic therapy including a third-generation cephalosporin plus a macrolide alone or in combination with a fluoroquinolone. Treatment options for patients with risk factors for Pseudomonas species include administration of an antipseudomonal antibiotic and an aminoglycoside, plus azithromycin or a fluoroquinolone. Patients with risk factors for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus should be given vancomycin or linezolid, or ceftaroline in resistant cases. Administration of corticosteroids within 36 hours of hospital admission for patients with severe community-acquired pneumonia decreases the risk of adult respiratory distress syndrome and length of treatment. The 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide and 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccinations are both recommended for adults 65 years and older to decrease the risk of invasive pneumococcal disease, including pneumonia.
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