HM20 Virtual

Get updated: Latest ATS/ISDA guidelines for pneumonia


Attendees at HM20 Virtual can expect some changes when it comes to how hospitalists should refer to and manage pneumonia, according to Joanna M. Bonsall, MD, PhD, SFHM, chief of hospital medicine at Grady Memorial Hospital and associate professor of medicine at Emory University, both in Atlanta.

Dr. Joanna Bonsall of Emory University , Grady Memorial Hospital

Dr. Joanna Bonsall

Last year, the American Thoracic Society and the Infectious Diseases Society of America updated their clinical guidelines on community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) for the first time since 2007. The guidelines were published in the Oct. 1, 2019 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

CAP is one of the most common reasons for hospitalization in the United States, and it is estimated that CAP comprises over 4.5 million outpatient and ED visits each year, according to the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey in 2009-2010. It is also the most common cause of death from infection disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Bonsall will present “Updates in Pneumonia” at HM20 Virtual, the virtual annual meeting of the Society of Hospital Medicine; a live question-and-answer session will be held online Aug. 20. In her session, Dr. Bonsall said she plans to cover the new ATS/IDSA guidelines for CAP, which will include what initial testing to order, which empiric antibiotics to use, and how to manage patients at risk for resistant organisms, formerly known as health care–associated pneumonia (HCAP). Dr. Bonsall also will outline the evidence for use of steroids, especially in cases of severe pneumonia, and review the 2016 ATS/IDSA guidelines for hospital-acquired pneumonia with a focus on antibiotic selection.

One major change for 2019: The ATS/IDSA CAP guideline authors issued a strong recommendation to abandon use of the term HCAP as a “distinct clinical entity” when considering antibiotics for patients with CAP. In addition, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa should only be empirically covered in patients with CAP if they present with locally validated risk factors for either pathogen, according to the guidelines.

“Order pretreatment testing based on severity of illness as well as risk factors for drug-resistant pathogens,” Dr. Bonsall said. Hospitalists also should avoid using procalcitonin levels as a benchmark for whether a patient should be started on antibiotics. Once the recommended antibiotic treatment has been initiated, attendees should use culture results to narrow down the possibilities, especially in cases of drug-resistant pathogens.

The ATS/IDSA guidelines also state that corticosteroids should not be routinely used for patients with nonsevere CAP, but attendees should also be aware of the limitations and interpretations of the evidence, Dr. Bonsall said. Avoiding routine corticosteroid use in patients with severe CAP or in patients with severe influenza pneumonia carries a conditional recommendation with a moderate and low quality of evidence, respectively. In general, cases of CAP should be treated for no more than 5 days, or 3 days of treatment after the patient becomes clinically stable.

Attendees at HM20 Virtual should walk away from the session knowing what testing is necessary and what testing is unnecessary, and how to reduce antibiotic exposure for both broad spectrum use and duration. “At the end of the session, you should feel comfortable using both the CAP and HAP guidelines,” Dr. Bonsall said.

Dr. Bonsall reported no relevant financial disclosures.

Updates in Pneumonia

Live Q&A: Thursday, Aug. 20, 2:15 p.m to 3:15 p.m.

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