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BMJ Clin Evid. 2008 Jul 17;2008. pii: 1503.

Community-acquired pneumonia.

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  • 1Departments of Pathology & Molecular Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.



In the northern hemisphere about 12/1000 people a year (on average) contract pneumonia while living in the community, with most cases caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. Mortality ranges from about 5-35% depending on severity of disease, with a worse prognosis in older people, men, and people with chronic diseases.


We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of interventions to prevent community-acquired pneumonia? What are the effects of treatments for community-acquired pneumonia in outpatient settings, in people admitted to hospital, and in people receiving intensive care? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to June 2007 (BMJ Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).


We found 21 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.


In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: antibiotics (oral, intravenous), different combinations, and prompt administration of antibiotics in intensive-care settings, early mobilisation, influenza vaccine, and pneumococcal vaccine.

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