Insights into long-term mortality, especially into the cause of death after initial recovery from an episode of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), may help in determining optimal preventive measures in such patients. Prospective observational cohort studies were conducted to compare cause-specific long-term mortality rates for 356 patients who had recovered from CAP with those of the general Dutch population (16.3 million) between 2003 and 2007. The Dutch Municipal Public Records Database and death certificates were used to determine cause-specific mortality rates up to 7 years after discharge. In patients who had recovered from CAP, cumulative 1-year, 5-year and 7-year mortality rates were 17%, 43% and 53%, respectively, as compared with 4%, 19% and 24% for an age-matched and sex-matched population reference cohort. Overall, patients who had recovered from CAP had significantly higher long-term mortality than matched population controls (rate ratio (RR) 3.6; p <0.001). In the years after an episode of CAP, malignancy (27%), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (19%) and cardiovascular disease (16%) were the most frequent causes of death. Only 6% died of pneumonia, as compared with 3.2% in the general population. After initial recovery from an episode of CAP, long-term mortality rates are more than three times as high as in the general population. The causes of long-term mortality were mostly comorbidity-related, and significantly different from those in the general population. After an episode of CAP, optimization of treatment of comorbidities, such as treatment for COPD, might improve long-term survival rates.
© 2010 The Authors. Clinical Microbiology and Infection © 2010 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.