Purpose: In primary care, initial diagnosis of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is made on clinical judgment without radiological confirmation or knowledge of the causative organism. Use of CRB65 score has been recommended for assessing the severity of CAP and thereby determining clinical management, but it is not known how frequently these scores are used in primary care.
Patients and methods: Primary care consultations in adults with a diagnostic code for CAP between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2016 were extracted from the Optimum Patient Care Research Database, which at the time of data extraction had over 3.4 million patients in the UK. Episodes without antibiotic prescription on day of diagnosis were excluded, as were records describing past events. Patients admitted to hospital on day of diagnosis were excluded, but were included in exploratory analysis of CRB65 recording.
Results: In total, 4734 episodes of CAP in adults managed in primary care between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2016 were included. A range of investigations/observations were recorded, including pulse rate (10.7%), chest examinations (9.1%) and blood tests (5.4%). CRB65 scores were recorded in 19 (0.4%) episodes of CAP, 17 of which were after the publication of the NICE guidelines in December 2014. CRB65 recording was no more frequent in 3819 episodes referred to hospital (12, 0.3%; p=0.63), but where recorded, CRB65 scores were higher (Median: 1.0 [interquartile range: 0.5-1.0] vs 2.0 [interquartile range: 1.0-2.0], p=0.04). The most commonly prescribed antibiotic was amoxicillin (40.3%), and 85.9% of episodes had a prescription length of seven days.
Conclusion: CRB65 scores are seldom recorded in UK primary care. Given that these scores are embedded in UK guidelines, further work is required to assess feasibility and barriers to use of CRB65 scores in primary care.
Keywords: CRB65; antibiotics; antimicrobials; guidelines adherence; lower-respiratory tract infection.
© 2019 Launders et al.