Outpatient management of community-acquired pneumonia
PURPOSE OF REVIEW Although most patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) are treated as outpatients, the majority of data regarding CAP management is provided by hospitals, either from emergency department or inpatients. This was already noted in the first CAP guidelines, published in 1993, and the challenges regarding the outpatient management of CAP persist nowadays. These include the uncertainty of the initial diagnosis and risk stratification, the empirical choice of antibiotics, the overgrowing of antibiotic resistance bacteria and the relative scarcity of novel antibiotics.
RECENT FINDINGS New molecular biology methods have changed the etiologic perspective of CAP, unveiling the role of virus. Diagnostic uncertainty may lead to antibiotic overuse and bacteria resistance. Novel antibiotics along with diagnostic improvement, related to the use of lung ultrasound and point-of-care biomarkers testing, may help to improve CAP treatment. Prevention, especially the use of antipneumococcal vaccine, is instrumental in reducing the burden of disease.
SUMMARY Most of CAP cases are managed in the outpatient setting. However, most research is focused on 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 improving outcomes, as well as to the execution of stewardship programs that maintain current antibiotics, safeguard future ones and reinforce prevention.