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N Engl J Med. 1987 Jul 2;317(1):18-22.

Risk factors and response to antibiotic therapy in adults with bacteremic pneumonia caused by penicillin-resistant pneumococci.


We retrospectively studied 24 adults with bacteremic pneumonia (25 episodes) due to penicillin-resistant pneumococci, for which the minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of penicillin G were 0.12 to 8.0 micrograms per milliliter; 79 percent of the strains showed multiple antibiotic resistance. As compared with 48 control patients with bacteremic pneumonia caused by penicillin-sensitive pneumococci, the 24 patients with penicillin-resistant pneumococci had a significantly higher incidence of use of beta-lactam antibiotics during the previous three months (65 vs. 17 percent, P = 0.0008), hospitalization during the previous three months (58 vs. 21 percent, P = 0.0038), nosocomial pneumonia (37 vs. 6 percent, P = 0.0032), episodes of pneumonia during the previous year (29 vs. 4 percent, P = 0.010), and factors on initial presentation that were associated with a poor prognosis (an initially critical condition) (67 vs. 27 percent, P = 0.0030). Their overall mortality rate was significantly higher (54 vs. 25 percent, P = 0.0298). Eleven of 19 episodes of pneumonia due to organisms for which MICs were 0.12 to 2.0 micrograms per milliliter, which were treated with penicillin G (10 episodes) or another beta-lactam agent (9 episodes), resulted in recovery (2 of 10 patients in an initially critical condition recovered, as compared with all of 9 not initially in a critical condition, P = 0.0012). Two patients who had penicillin-resistant pneumococci for which MICs were 4.0 and 8.0 micrograms per milliliter did not respond to ampicillin and ticarcillin therapy, respectively. Our study suggests that pneumonia due to penicillin-resistant pneumococci may occur more often in a population with some identifiable risk factors, and may respond to intravenous high-dose penicillin therapy if MICs are less than or equal to 2 micrograms per milliliter. Cases involving higher resistance may require an alternative antibiotic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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