Suspected community-acquired pneumonia in an ambulatory setting (CAPA): a French prospective observational cohort study in general practice

NPJ Prim Care Respir Med. 2015 Mar 12;25:15010. doi: 10.1038/npjpcrm.2015.10.


Background: Few studies have addressed the pragmatic management of ambulatory patients with suspected community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) using a precise description of the disease with or without chest X-ray (X-ray) evidence.

Aims: To describe the characteristics, clinical findings, additional investigations and disease progression in patients with suspected CAP managed by French General Practitioners (GPs).

Methods: The patients included were older than 18 years, with signs or symptoms suggestive of CAP associated with recent-onset unilateral crackles on auscultation or a new opacity on X-ray. They were followed for up to 6 weeks. Descriptive analyses of all patients and according to their management with X-rays were carried out.

Results: From September 2011 to July 2012, 886 patients have been consulted by 267 GPs. Among them, 278 (31%) were older than 65 years and 337 (38%) were at increased risk for invasive pneumococcal disease. At presentation, the three most common symptoms, cough (94%), fever (93%), and weakness or myalgia (81%), were all observed in 70% of patients. Unilateral crackles were observed in 77% of patients. Among patients with positive radiography (64%), 36% had no unilateral crackles. A null CRB-65 score was obtained in 62% of patients. Most patients (94%) initially received antibiotics and experienced uncomplicated disease progression regardless of their management with X-rays. Finally, 7% of patients were hospitalised and 0.3% died.

Conclusions: Most patients consulting GPs for suspected CAP had the three following most common symptoms: cough, fever, and weakness or myalgia. More than a third of them were at increased risk for invasive pneumococcal disease. With or without X-rays, most patients received antibiotics and experienced uncomplicated disease progression.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Community-Acquired Infections / therapy*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • France
  • General Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia / therapy*
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents