Rationale: Some studies highlight the association of better clinical responses with adherence to guidelines for empiric treatment of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), but little is known about factors that influence this adherence.
Objectives: Our objectives were to identify factors influencing adherence to the guidelines for empiric treatment of CAP, and to evaluate the impact of adherence on outcome.
Methods: We studied 1,288 patients with CAP admitted to 13 Spanish hospitals. Collected variables included the patients' clinical and demographic data, initial severity of the disease, antibiotic treatment, and specialty and training status of the prescribing physician.
Measurements and main results: Adherence to guidelines was high (79.7%), with significant differences between hospitals (range, 47-97%) and physicians (pneumologists, 81%; pneumology residents, 84%; nonpneumology residents, 82%; other specialists, 67%). The independent factors related to higher adherence were hospital, physician characteristics, and initial high-risk class of Fine, whereas admission to intensive care unit decreased adherence. Seventy-four patients died (6.1%), and treatment failure was found in 175 patients (14.2%). After adjusting for Fine risk class, adherence to the guidelines was found protective for mortality (odds ratio [OR], 0.55; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.3-0.9) and for treatment failure (OR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.5-0.9). Treatment prescribed by pneumologists and residents was associated with lower treatment failure (OR, 0.6; 95% CI, 0.4-0.9).
Conclusions: Adherence to guidelines mainly depends on the hospital and the specialty and training status of prescribing physicians. Nonadherence was higher in nonpneumology specialists, and is an independent risk factor for treatment failure and mortality.