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Overview: Community-Acquired Pneumonia

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The full newsletter Community-Acquired Pneumonia, prescribing information and CME self-assessment are free for both AMA members and non-members. Please note that the correct expiration date for this program is September 2012.

Estimates of the annual incidence of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in the US range from 4-6 million cases.

Approximately 20% of CAP patients require hospitalization, accounting for more than 1.2 million hospitalizations annually.  As hospitalization is an indicator of severity, the mortality rate for pneumonia is less than 1% for CAP patients who do not require hospitalization, climbs to 12% to 14% among hospitalized patients with CAP, and has been reported as high as 25% among patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).

Chest radiography (recommended in the IDSA/ATS guidelines) is essential for documenting pneumonia, and provides additional information such as severity of illness (eg, multilobar infiltrates) and presence of complications (eg, pleural effusions).  However, it should not be used indiscriminately in all patients with a lower respiratory tract illness.

Due to the limited utility of diagnostic tests and the growing appreciation that CAP is often a polymicrobial infection, the majority of patients with CAP receive empiric antibiotic treatment. The initiation of empiric therapy should not be delayed while tests to identify causative pathogens are performed. The IDSA/ATS guidelines stratify patients base on site-of-care: outpatient treatment, hospitalized in a general medical floor, and those requiring treatment in the ICU.

In "Community-Acquired Pneumonia" physicians will learn to:

  • Apply evidence-based approaches in the diagnosis and management of community acquired pneumonia
  • Compare current approach to professional guideline recommendations

The full newsletter will provide you further insights into the use of antibiotics for CAP.

View the full newsletter Community-Acquired Pneumonia and learn how to receive CME credit. Newsletters are available to all physicians, not just AMA members.