Objective: To describe risk factors of severe pneumococcal community-acquired pneumonia and to study variables influencing outcome.
Design: Retrospective (1987-1992) and prospective (1993-1995) study.
Setting: Three participating ICUs from primary care hospitals.
Patients: Five hundred and five patients (mean age: 63 +/- 17 years) with severe community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Three groups of patients were defined: pneumococcal CAP (group 1), CAP with microbial diagnosis other than Streptococcus pneumoniae (group 2), CAP from group 2 and CAP without microbial diagnosis (group 3).
Measurements and results: Admission data and data on the disease's course were recorded. The mean Simplified Acute Physiologic Score (SAPS) was 12.5 +/- 5.4. On admission 288 (57 %) patients were mechanically ventilated (mv) and 82 (16.2 %) required inotropic support. A microbial diagnosis was established for 309 (61.2%) patients. S. pneumoniae was isolated in 137 (27.1%) patients. Severe pneumococcal CAP was independently associated with male sex (p = 0.01), lack of antibiotics use before admission (p = 0.0001), non-aspiration pneumonia (p = 0.01) and septic shock (p = 0.0001). The overall mortality rate was 27.5 % (29.2 % in group 1). In patients with severe pneumococcal CAP, multivariate analysis showed that leukopenia less than 3,500/mm3 (p = 0.0004), age over 65 years (p = 0.01), septic shock (p = 0.01), sepsis related complications (p = 0.0001), ICU complications (p = 0.001) and inadequacy of antimicrobial therapy (p = 0.002) worsened the prognosis.
Conclusions: Few features facilitate the identification of pneumococcal CAP on ICU admission. The prognosis is mostly related to severity of illness (leukopenia, septic shock) while comorbidities do not seem to influence outcome. Sepsis-related disorders, ICU complications and adequate antimicrobial chemotherapy are the major variables affecting the outcome during an ICU stay.