Intern Med. 2022;61(7):979-988. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.6949-20. Epub 2022 Apr 1.
Objective Phosphate is a fundamental element involved in a number of physiological pathways. A previous study showed abnormal laboratory findings and a higher mortality in hypophosphatemic patients than in normophosphatemic patients with pneumonia. Sporadic cases of pneumonia due to Legionella spp., Streptococcus pneumoniae, and viruses have been reported; however, the significance of hypophosphatemia in patients with pneumonia has not been adequately studied. We determined whether or not hypophosphatemia in patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) was associated with specific pathogens, patient factors, disease severity, and mortality. Method We retrospectively analyzed 600 patients with CAP who were admitted to our hospital between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2019. Results Hypophosphatemia was found in 72 (12.0%) of the 600 patients. The most frequent causative microbial agents of CAP in patients with hypophosphatemia were S. pneumoniae, Legionella spp., and influenza virus, whereas in severely ill patients with hypophosphatemia, influenza virus was the most common. Legionella spp., diabetes mellitus, and severe pneumonia were the independent factors for hypophosphatemia in the multivariable analysis. An impaired performance status, severe status on admission, interstitial pneumonia, bacteremia, and guideline-discordant therapy were the independent factors associated with mortality in the multivariable analysis. Hypophosphatemia was not significantly associated with mortality but showed a trend towards higher mortality in the multivariable analysis. Conclusion Hypophosphatemia was not associated with the prognosis in patients with CAP. However, the significance of hypophosphatemia for clinicians lies in the laboratory findings that predict abnormal glucose metabolism, Legionella infection, and severe disease.