Community-acquired pneumonia

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This seminar reviews the aetiology, clinical presentation, approach to diagnosis, and management of immunocompetent adults with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Pneumonia is a common clinical entity, particularly among the elderly. A thorough understanding of the epidemiology and microbiology of CAP is essential for appropriate diagnosis and management. Although the microbiology of CAP has remained relatively stable over the last decade, there is new information on the incidence of atypical pathogens, particularly in patients not admitted to hospital, and new information on the incidence of pathogens in cases of severe CAP and in CAP in the elderly. Recent studies have provided new data on risk factors for mortality in CAP, which can assist the clinician in decisions about the need for hospital admission. The emergence of antimicrobial resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae, the organism responsible for most cases of CAP, has greatly affected the approach to therapy, especially in those patients who are treated empirically. Guidelines for the therapy of CAP have been published by the American Thoracic Society, the British Thoracic Society, and, most recently, the Infectious Diseases Society of America. These guidelines differ in their emphasis on empirical versus pathogenic-specific management.

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