Outpatient management of community-acquired pneumonia

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Purpose of review

The first guidelines on community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) were published in 1993, but since then many of the challenges regarding the outpatient management of CAP persist. These include the difficulty in establishing the initial clinical diagnosis, its risk stratification, which will dictate the place of treatment, the empirical choice of antibiotics, the relative scarcity of novel antibiotics and the importance of knowing local microbiological susceptibility patterns.

Recent findings

New molecular biology methods have changed the etiologic perspective of CAP, especially the contribution of virus. Lung ultrasound and biomarkers might aid diagnosis and severity stratification in the outpatient setting. Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem that reinforces the importance of novel antibiotics. And finally, prevention and the use of anti–pneumococcal vaccine are instrumental in reducing the burden of disease.


Most of CAP cases are managed in the community; however, most research comes from hospitalized severe patients. New and awaited advances might contribute to aid diagnosis, cause and assessment of patients with CAP in the community. This knowledge might prove decisive in the execution of stewardship programmes that maintain current antibiotics, safeguard future ones and reinforce prevention.

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