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Intensive Care Med. 2010 Apr;36(4):612-20. doi: 10.1007/s00134-009-1730-y. Epub 2009 Dec 2.

Combination antibiotic therapy with macrolides improves survival in intubated patients with community-acquired pneumonia.

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Critical Care Department, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.



To assess the effect on survival of macrolides or fluoroquinolones in intubated patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with severe community-acquired pneumonia (severe CAP).


Prospective, observational cohort, multicenter study conducted in 27 ICUs of 9 European countries. Two hundred eighteen consecutive patients requiring invasive mechanical ventilation for an admission diagnosis of CAP were recruited.


Severe sepsis and septic shock were present in 165 (75.7%) patients. Microbiological documentation was obtained in 102 (46.8%) patients. ICU mortality was 37.6% (n = 82). Non-survivors were older (58.6 +/- 16.1 vs. 63.4 +/- 16.7 years, P < 0.05) and presented a higher score on the simplified Acute Physiology Score II at admission (45.6 +/- 15.4 vs. 50.8 +/- 17.5, P < 0.05). Monotherapy was given in 43 (19.7%) and combination therapy in 175 (80.3%) patients. Empirical antibiotic therapy was in accordance with the 2007 Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA)/American Thoracic Society (ATS) guidelines in 100 (45.9%) patients (macrolides in 46 patients and fluoroquinolones in 54). In this cohort, a Cox regression analysis adjusted by severity identified that macrolide use was associated with lower ICU mortality (hazard ratio, HR 0.48, confidence intervals, 95% CI 0.23-0.97, P = 0.04) when compared to the use of fluoroquinolones. When more severe patients presenting severe sepsis and septic shock were analyzed (n = 92), similar results were obtained (HR 0.44, 95% CI 0.20-0.95, P = 0.03).


Patients with severe community-acquired pneumonia had a low adherence with the 2007 IDSA/ATS guidelines. Combination therapy with macrolides should be preferred in intubated patients with severe CAP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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