A small pericardial effusion is a marker of complicated hospitalization in patients with community-acquired pneumonia☆

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Abstract

Objective:

Although often asymptomatic, presence of small pericardial effusion (SPE) is shown to be associated with adverse events and increased mortality in various conditions. This study aimed to evaluate the frequency and prognostic importance of SPE in a cohort of patients hospitalized for community-acquired pneumonia (CAP).

Methods:

We prospectively followed 154 consecutive adult patients hospitalized with CAP. The severity of CAP was evaluated with the pneumonia severity index (PSI) and the CURB-65 (confusion, urea, respiratory rate, arterial blood pressure and age) score. All patients underwent transthoracic echocardiography within the first 48 h of admission. Patients were followed-up until hospital discharge or death. The outcomes of interest were length of stay in hospital and complicated hospitalization (CH) which is defined as intensive care unit admission, need for mechanical ventilation or in-hospital mortality. This study was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02441855.

Results:

A total 34 episodes of CHs occurred in 21 (13.6%) patients. Older patients and those with more co-morbid conditions such as diabetes, coronary artery diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases tended to have a higher rate of CH. Patients with CH had higher N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide, troponin and creatinine levels on admission compared to patients without CH. Patients with CH had also higher CURB-65 and PSI scores and had longer durations of stay compared to patients with uncomplicated course. SPE was noted in 24 (15.6%) of the patients in our study cohort. Incidence of CH was greater for patients with a SPE (26 CHs occurred in 14 of the 24 patients) compared to those without an effusion (8 CHs occurred in 7 of the 130 patients, p < 0.001). Logistic multivariate analysis revealed that the presence of SPE was an independent predictor of CH (OR: 3.26; 95% CI: 2.19–8.71; p = 0.008).

Conclusion:

This study is the first to demonstrate that the presence of SPE is associated with increased adverse events in patients with CAP.

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