Combination Therapy, Early Treatment Improve Survival in Severe Pneumonia Cases

Published Online: Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Early antibiotic prescription and use of combination therapy for severe cases of pneumonia have increased and have helped to save lives in the intensive care unit, according to a recent European study.

The study, published online on December 26, 2013, in Chest, looked at antibiotic prescribing practices and survival rates in the intensive care unit for pneumococcal severe community-acquired pneumonia from 2000 to 2013. Patients from the CAPUCI II study, conducted from 2008 to 2013, were matched with patients from the CAPUCI I study conducted from 2000 to 2002, based on shock at admission, need for mechanical ventilation, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, immunosuppression, and age.

Combined antibiotic therapy was prescribed in 87.5% of patients in the 2008 to 2013 study, compared with 66.2% of patients in the earlier trial. The first dose of antibiotics was given within 3 hours to 70% of patients in the more recent study, while only 27.5% of patients in the first study received antibiotics that quickly. These increases in early combination therapy and early antibiotic treatment were associated with a significant drop in pneumonia-related deaths. Deaths decreased from 32.5% in 2000 to 2002, to 17.5% in 2008 to 2013.

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