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JAMA. 1996 Jan 10;275(2):134-41.

Prognosis and outcomes of patients with community-acquired pneumonia. A meta-analysis.

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Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pa., USA.



To systematically review the medical literature on the prognosis and outcomes of patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP).


A MEDLINE literature search of English-language articles involving human subjects and manual reviews of article bibliographies were used to identify studies of prognosis in CAP.


Review of 4573 citations revealed 122 articles (127 unique study cohorts) that reported medical outcomes in adults with CAP.


Qualitative assessments of studies' patient populations, designs, and patient outcomes were performed. Summary univariate odds ratios (ORs) and rate differences (RDs) and their associated 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were computed to estimate a summary effect size for the association of prognostic factors and mortality.


The overall mortality for the 33,148 patients in all 127 study cohorts was 13.7%, ranging from 5.1% for the 2097 hospitalized and ambulatory patients (in six study cohorts) to 36.5% for the 788 intensive care unit patients (in 13 cohorts). Mortality varied by pneumonia etiology, ranging from less than 2% to greater than 30%. Eleven prognostic factors were significantly associated with mortality using both summary ORs and RDs: male sex (OR = 1.3; 95% CI, 1.2 to 1.4), pleuritic chest pain (OR = 0.5; 95% CI, 0.3 to 0.8), hypothermia (OR = 5.0; 95% CI, 2.4 to 10.4), systolic hypotension (OR = 4.8; 95% CI, 2.8 to 8.3), tachypnea (OR = 2.9; 95% CI, 1.7 to 4.9), diabetes mellitus (OR = 1.3; 95% CI, 1.1 to 1.5), neoplastic disease (OR = 2.8; 95% CI, 2.4 to 3.1), neurologic disease (OR = 4.6; 95% CI, 2.3 to 8.9), bacteremia (OR = 2.8; 95% CI, 2.3 to 3.6), leukopenia (OR = 2.5, 95% CI, 1.6 to 3.7), and multilobar radiographic pulmonary infiltrate (OR = 3.1; 95% CI, 1.9 to 5.1). Assessments of other clinically relevant medical outcomes such as morbid complications (41 cohorts), symptoms resolution (seven cohorts), return to work or usual activities (five cohorts), or functional status (one cohort) were infrequently performed.


Mortality for patients hospitalized with CAP was high and was associated with characteristics of the study cohort, pneumonia etiology, and a variety of prognostic factors. Generalization of these findings to all patients with CAP should be made with caution because of insufficient published information on medical outcomes other than mortality in ambulatory patients.

Comment in

  • ACP J Club. 1996 Jul-Aug;125(1):20.
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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