Appropriate antibiotic management of bacterial lower respiratory tract infections.
Authors: Feldman C, Richards G
Lower respiratory tract infections are the leading cause of infectious disease deaths worldwide and are the fifth leading cause of death overall. This is despite conditions such as pneumococcal infections and influenza being largely preventable with the use of appropriate vaccines. The mainstay of treatment for the most important bacterial lower respiratory tract infections, namely acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD) and community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), is the use of antibiotics. Yet despite a number of recent publications, including clinical studies as well as several systematic literature reviews and meta-analyses, there is considerable ongoing controversy as to what the most appropriate antibiotics are for the empiric therapy of CAP in the different settings (outpatient, inpatient, and intensive care unit). Furthermore, in the case of AECOPD, there is a need for consideration of which of these exacerbations actually need antibiotic treatment. This article describes these issues and makes suggestions for appropriately managing these conditions, in the setting of the need for antimicrobial stewardship initiatives designed to slow current emerging rates of antibiotic resistance, while improving patient outcomes.
PMID: 30079235 [PubMed]