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.