Treatment and outcomes of community-acquired pneumonia at Canadian hospitals

B G Feagan, T J Marrie, C Y Lau, S L Wheeler, C J Wong, M K Vandervoort
Canadian Medical Association Journal: CMAJ 2000 May 16, 162 (10): 1415-20

BACKGROUND: Community-acquired pneumonia is a common disease with a large economic burden. We assessed clinical practices and outcomes among patients with community-acquired pneumonia admitted to Canadian hospitals.

METHODS: A total of 20 hospitals (11 teaching and 9 community) participated. Data from the charts of adults admitted during November 1996, January 1997 and March 1997 were reviewed to determine length of stay (LOS), admission to an intensive care unit and 30-day in-hospital mortality. Multivariate analyses examined sources of variability in LOS. The type and duration of antibiotic therapy and the proportion of patients who were treated according to clinical practice guidelines were determined.

RESULTS: A total of 858 eligible patients were identified; their mean age was 69.4 (standard deviation 17.7) years. The overall median LOS was 7.0 days (interquartile range [IQR] 4.0-11.0 days); the median LOS ranged from 5.0 to 9.0 days across hospitals (IQR 6.0-7.8 days). Only 22% of the variability in LOS could be explained by known factors (disease severity 12%; presence of chronic obstructive lung disease or bacterial cause for the pneumonia 2%; hospital site 7%). The overall 30-day mortality was 14.1% (95% confidence interval [CI] 11.8%-16.6%); 13.6% of the patients were admitted to an intensive care unit (95% CI 11.4%-16.1%). The median duration of intravenous antibiotic therapy was 5 days (range 3.0-6.5 days across hospitals). Although 79.8% of patients received treatment according to clinical practice guidelines, the rate of compliance with the guidelines ranged from 47.9% to 100% across hospitals.

INTERPRETATION: Considerable heterogeneity exists in the management of community-acquired pneumonia at Canadian hospitals, the causes of which are poorly understood.

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