Predictive factors of true bacteremia and the clinical utility of blood cultures as a prognostic tool in patients with community-onset pneumonia

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Although blood cultures (BCs) are an important component of diagnostic practice for antibiotic management in patients with pneumonia, several studies have questioned whether they should be performed. The objective of this study was to evaluate the predictive factors of bacteremia and the role of BCs in patients with community-onset pneumonia (community-acquired pneumonia and healthcare-associated pneumonia).

This study was retrospectively conducted in patients with community-onset pneumonia who were hospitalized at Jeju National University Hospital between January 2012 and December 2014. A true bacteremia (TB) group and a contaminants or negative bacteremia (CNB) group were classified according to the bacterial growth on the BC media and were investigated for the clinical relevance of the BCs.

We enrolled 785 patients; the TB group and the CNB group contained 36 patients (4.5%) and 749 (95.4%) patients, respectively. Only 10 patients (1.2%) required a change in antibiotic therapy based on the BC results (3 patients with an escalation, 7 with a de-escalation). There was no significant difference between the community-acquired pneumonia and the healthcare-associated pneumonia groups with regard to the rate of antibiotic change due to the BC results (1.1% vs 1.4%; P = 0.751). Chronic liver disease (odds ratio [OR] 2.973, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.099–8.037), a confusion, urea, respiratory rate, blood pressure, age ≥65 (CURB-65) score of 4 to 5 points (OR 3.484, 95% CI 1.304–9.307), and Pneumonia Severity Index (PSI) class V (OR 2.405, 95% CI 1.007–5.743) were independently associated with TB. In patients with PSI class V and a CURB-65 score of 4 to 5 points, the TB group tended to show a higher inhospital mortality rate than the CNB group (50.0% vs 29.4%; P = 0.060, 60.0% vs 42.5%; P = 0.480). The areas under the curve for PSI score and CURB-65 score for predicting TB revealed an increased tendency compared with that of C-reactive protein (0.72, 95% CI 0.630–0.809; and 0.72, 95% CI 0.622–0.819 vs 0.629, 95% CI 0.522–0.735, respectively).

It seemed reasonable to selectively conduct BC in patients hospitalized with severe community-onset pneumonia based upon its low overall positive rate, its effects on antimicrobial modification, and the associations of TB with the severity indices of pneumonia.

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