New testing guidelines for community-acquired pneumonia

Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2022 Apr 1;35(2):128-132. doi: 10.1097/QCO.0000000000000824.


Purpose of review: The purpose of this article is to review diagnostic testing recommendations outlined in the current American Thoracic Society (ATS)/Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) guideline and the 2021 ATS guideline for noninfluenza respiratory viruses.

Recent findings: Diagnostic testing in CAP with gram stain, lower respiratory and blood cultures, Streptococcal and Legionella urinary antigens are not routinely recommended unless identified as severe CAP or with risk factors for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. Influenza virus testing remains a strong recommendation during periods of community viral spread.An additional 2021 ATS clinical practice guideline reviewed the use of molecular testing for noninfluenza viral pathogens in adults with suspected CAP and recommended testing in those hospitalized with severe CAP and/or various immunocompromising conditions.

Summary: Diagnostic testing remains an important component of confirming and treating CAP. The CAP guideline includes recommendations surrounding diagnostic testing with lower respiratory gram stain and culture, blood cultures, Legionella and Pneumococcal urinary antigen, influenza viral testing and serum procalcitonin.There is a strong recommendation to obtain influenza virus testing during periods of community spread. However, the use of other diagnostics such as gram stain, lower respiratory and blood culture, and urinary antigen testing are dependent on severity of illness and whether a patient has been identified as having strong risk factors for MRSA or P. aeruginosa infection. The 2021 ATS clinical practice document did not routinely recommend testing noninfluenza respiratory viruses unless identified as having severe CAP and/or various immunocompromising conditions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Community-Acquired Infections* / diagnosis
  • Community-Acquired Infections* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus*
  • Pneumonia* / drug therapy
  • Pseudomonas Infections*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Viruses*


  • Antigens, Bacterial