Characteristics and Management of Community-Acquired Pneumonia in the Era of Global Aging

Med Sci (Basel). 2018 Apr 30;6(2):35. doi: 10.3390/medsci6020035.


Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) can occur at any time of life, but its incidence and risk of death are linked to increasing age. CAP in the elderly is a major health problem associated with high rates of readmission, morbidity, and mortality. Since the clinical presentation of pneumonia in the elderly may be atypical, clinicians should suspect pneumonia in older patients presenting symptoms such as falls and altered mental status, fatigue, lethargy, delirium, anorexia, in order to avoid the complications associated with delayed diagnosis and therapy. Streptococcus pneumoniae remains the most frequently reported pathogen in this population. However, particular attention should be paid to patients with risk factors for multidrug resistant pathogens, because a large proportion of elderly persons present multimorbidity. Vaccination is one of the most important preventive approaches for CAP in the elderly. In addition, lifestyle-tailored interventions for different modifiable risk factors will help to reduce the risk of pneumonia in elderly persons. Surveillance of etiological pathogens may improve vaccination policies in this population.

Keywords: aging; community-acquired pneumonia; elderly; pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Review