Early discontinuation of combination antibiotic therapy in severe community-acquired pneumonia: a retrospective cohort study

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BMC Infect Dis. 2023 Sep 18;23(1):611. doi: 10.1186/s12879-023-08493-5.


BACKGROUND: Severe community-acquired pneumonia (SCAP) is commonly treated with an empiric combination therapy, including a macrolide, or a quinolone and a β-lactam. However, the risk of Legionella pneumonia may lead to a prolonged combination therapy even after negative urinary antigen tests (UAT).

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study in a French intensive care unit (ICU) over 6 years and included all the patients admitted with documented SCAP. All patients received an empirical combination therapy with a β-lactam plus a macrolide or quinolone, and a Legionella UAT was performed. Macrolide or quinolone were discontinued when the UAT was confirmed negative. We examined the clinical and epidemiological features of SCAP and analysed the independent factors associated with ICU mortality.

RESULTS: Among the 856 patients with documented SCAP, 26 patients had atypical pneumonia: 18 Legionella pneumophila (LP) serogroup 1, 3 Mycoplasma pneumonia (MP), and 5 Chlamydia psittaci (CP). UAT diagnosed 16 (89%) Legionella pneumonia and PCR confirmed the diagnosis for the other atypical pneumonia. No atypical pneumonia was found by culture only. Type of pathogen was not associated with a higher ICU mortality in the multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSION: Legionella pneumophila UAT proved to be highly effective in detecting the majority of cases, with only a negligible percentage of patients being missed, but is not sufficient to diagnose atypical pneumonia, and culture did not provide any supplementary information. These results suggest that the discontinuation of macrolides or quinolones may be a safe option when Legionella UAT is negative in countries with a low incidence of Legionella pneumonia.

PMID:37723456 | DOI:10.1186/s12879-023-08493-5

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