International Perspective on the New 2019 American Thoracic Society/Infectious Diseases Society of America Community-Acquired Pneumonia Guideline: A Critical Appraisal by a Global Expert Panel

Chest. 2020 Nov;158(5):1912-1918. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2020.07.089. Epub 2020 Aug 25.


In 2019, the American Thoracic Society (ATS) and Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) issued a substantial revision of the 2007 guideline on community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Despite the fact that generalization of infectious disease guidelines is limited because of substantial geographic differences in microbiologic etiology and antimicrobial resistance, the ATS/IDSA guideline is frequently applied outside the United States. Therefore, this project aimed to give a perspective on the ATS/IDSA CAP recommendations related to the management of CAP outside the United States. For this, an expert panel composed of 14 international key opinion leaders in the field of CAP from 10 countries across five continents, who were not involved in producing the 2019 guideline, was asked to subjectively name the five most useful changes, the recommendation viewed most critically, and the recommendation that cannot be applied to their respective region. There was no formal consensus process, and the article reflects different opinions. Recommendations welcomed by most of the international pneumonia experts included the abandonment of the concept of "health-care-associated pneumonia," the more restrictive indication for empiric macrolide treatment in outpatients, the increased emphasis on microbiologic diagnostics, and addressing the use of corticosteroids. Main criticisms included the somewhat arbitrary choice of a 25% resistance threshold for outpatient macrolide monotherapy. Experts from areas with elevated mycobacterial prevalence particularly opposed the recommendation of fluoroquinolones, even as an alternative.

Keywords: antibiotic resistance; corticosteroids; guideline; health-care-associated pneumonia; macrolide.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Community-Acquired Infections* / microbiology
  • Community-Acquired Infections* / therapy
  • Disease Management
  • Humans
  • Internationality
  • Patient Selection
  • Pneumonia* / microbiology
  • Pneumonia* / therapy
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Societies, Medical
  • Thoracic Diseases*
  • United States


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents