, Volume 191, Issue 3, pp 239-246
Date: 06 Apr 2013

Microbiological Diagnosis and Antibiotic Therapy in Patients with Community-Acquired Pneumonia and Acute COPD Exacerbation in Daily Clinical Practice: Comparison to Current Guidelines

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The aim of this secondary analysis was to evaluate current microbiological approaches, microbiology, and antibiotic therapy in patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) and acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD) in clinical practice and to compare them with current international guidelines.


A total of 362 patients with suspected CAP were enrolled in 14 European centers in a prospective multicenter study.


A total of 279 inpatients (CAP, n = 222; AECOPD, n = 57) were evaluated. A total of 83 (37 %) CAP patients and 25 (44 %) AECOPD patients did not undergo any microbiological tests. In patients with CAP/AECOPD, blood culture was performed in 109 (49 %)/16 (28.1 %), urinary antigen tests for Legionella pneumophila in 67 (30 %)/9 (16 %), and sputum investigation in 55 (25 %)/17 (30 %), respectively. The most frequent pathogens in CAP were Streptococcus pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae, L. pneumophila, Staphylococcus aureus, and Enterobacter cloacae; in AECOPD they were Escherichia coli, Haemophilus haemolyticus, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis. All CAP patients (mean = 11.1 days) and 35 (61.4 %) of AECOPD patients (mean = 8.9 days) received antibiotics. CAP patients were given mostly aminopenicillin with β-lactamase inhibitors and AECOPD patients were given mostly cephalosporins.


Pathogens isolated in CAP and AECOPD and the antibiotic therapy used are in good accordance with the guidelines. Blood culture, recommended for all CAP patients, was performed in only 50 % of the cases and antibiotic therapy lasted longer than the suggested 5–7 days. Therefore, international guidelines regarding performance of blood culture and duration of antibiotic therapy should be adopted more often. This duration was independent of the number of isolated pathogens and number of symptoms on admission. Therefore, the question arises as to whether microbiological data are necessary only for patients who are resistant to initial therapy.