Background: Little is known about temporal trends in the incidence and mortality of pneumonia in the general population.
Methods: We conducted a population-based cohort study in three Danish counties (population 1.4 million) to examine changes in the incidence and 30- and 90-day mortality associated with hospitalized pneumonia between 1994 and 2004. All adults hospitalized with a first-time diagnosis of pneumonia (n = 41 793) were identified in hospital discharge registries and followed for mortality through the Danish Civil Registry System. We determined age-standardized incidence rates and adjusted mortality rates associated with calendar year, gender, age and comorbidity.
Results: Between 1994 and 2003, the incidence of hospitalized pneumonia amongst adults increased from 288 per 100 000 person-years to 442 per 100 000 person-years, equivalent to an age-standardized incidence rate ratio of 1.50. The cumulative mortality within 30 and 90 days of admission was 15.2% and 21.9%, respectively, ranging from a 90-day mortality of 2.5% in patients aged 15-39 years to 34.7% in those aged 80 and over. Advanced age was the most important poor prognostic factor, followed by a high comorbidity score and male gender. The adjusted mortality rate ratios amongst patients with hospitalized pneumonia in 1999-2004, when compared with 1994-1998, were 0.89 (95% CI 0.85-0.94) after 30 days and 0.91 (95% CI 0.88-0.95) after 90 days.
Conclusions: The incidence of hospitalized pneumonia in Denmark has increased considerably during the last 10 years and, combined with persistently high mortality rates, is of clinical and public health concern.