Medical records of 44 consecutive patients with bacteremic Staphylococcus aureus pneumonia between 1980 to 1984 in a 750-bed community teaching hospital were reviewed. 36 patients (82%) were 60 years or older and the median age was in the 8th decade. There was no seasonal variation in the prevalence. The infection was hospital-acquired in 29 patients (66%). All patients had 1 or more (median 3) major underlying conditions. The chest roentgenogram was non-diagnostic; only 1 patient had empyema. Fever and leukocytosis were common. Many patients had renal insufficiency and hyperbilirubinemia. The overall mortality was 84%.