Antibiotic Use and Respiratory Pathogens in Adults With Sickle Cell Disease and Acute Chest Syndrome

Ann Pharmacother. 2019 Oct;53(10):991-996. doi: 10.1177/1060028019846118. Epub 2019 Apr 23.


Background: Acute chest syndrome (ACS) is an acute complication of sickle cell disease (SCD). Historically, the most common pathogens were Chlamydophila pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and respiratory syncytial virus. Pediatric patients receiving guideline-adherent therapy experienced fewer ACS-related and all-cause 30-day readmissions compared with those receiving nonadherent therapy. This has not been evaluated in adults. Objectives: The primary objectives were to characterize antibiotic use and pathogens. The secondary objective was to assess the occurrence of readmissions associated with guideline-adherent and clinically appropriate treatment compared with regimens that did not meet those criteria. Methods: A retrospective cohort analysis was conducted for adults with SCD hospitalized between August 1, 2014, and July 31, 2017, with pneumonia (PNA) or ACS. The study was approved by the institutional review board. Results: A total of 139 patients with 255 hospitalizations were reviewed. Among 41 respiratory cultures, 3 organisms were isolated: Cryptococcus neoformans, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and budding yeast. Respiratory panels were collected on 121 admissions, with 17 positive for 1 virus; all were negative for Chlamydophila pneumoniae and M pneumoniae. There were significantly more ACS-/PNA-related 7-day readmissions from patients on guideline-adherent regimens compared with nonadherent regimens (3.7% vs 0%; P = 0.04). Conclusion and Relevance: These findings challenge existing knowledge regarding the most common pathogens in adults with SCD with ACS or PNA. Routine inclusion of a macrolide may not be necessary. Future studies focused on pathogen characterization with standardized assessment are necessary to determine appropriate empirical therapy in this population.

Keywords: acute chest syndrome; atypical bacteria; pneumonia; respiratory panel; sickle cell disease.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Chest Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Adult
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / complications*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae / isolation & purification
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents