Background: Although medical practice guidelines exist, there have been no large-scale studies assessing the relationship between initial antimicrobial therapy and medical outcomes for patients hospitalized with pneumonia.
Objective: To determine the associations between initial antimicrobial therapy and 30-day mortality for these patients.
Methods: Hospital records for 12945 Medicare inpatients (> or = 65 years of age) with pneumonia were reviewed. Associations between initial antimicrobial regimens and 30-day mortality were assessed with Cox proportional hazards models, adjusting for baseline differences in patient characteristics, illness severity, and processes of care. Comparisons were made with patients treated with a non-pseudomonal third-generation cephalosporin alone (the reference group).
Results: Initial treatment with a second-generation cephalosporin plus macrolide (hazard ratio [HR], 0.71; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.52-0.96), a non-pseudomonal third-generation cephalosporin plus macrolide (HR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.60-0.92), or a fluoroquinolone alone (HR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.43-0.94) was independently associated with lower 30-day mortality. Adjusted mortality among patients initially treated with these 3 regimens became significantly lower than that in the reference group beginning 2, 3, and 7 days, respectively, after hospital admission. Use of a beta-lactam/beta-lactamase inhibitor plus macrolide (HR, 1.77; 95% CI, 1.28-2.46) and an aminoglycoside plus another agent (HR, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.02-1.43) were associated with an increased 30-day mortality.
Conclusions: In this study of primarily community-dwelling elderly patients hospitalized with pneumonia, 3 initial empiric antimicrobial regimens were independently associated with a lower 30-day mortality. The more widespread use of these antimicrobial regimens is likely to improve the medical outcomes for elderly patients with pneumonia.