PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a major cause of morbidity, mortality and expenditure of resources. When followed, guidelines for CAP management have been demonstrated to improve clinical outcomes; however, several issues are still open. This review summarizes the recent advances in this field and the priority needs for future research.
RECENT FINDINGS: Recently identified clinical and biochemical tools promise to improve the assessment of CAP severity; however, definition of the most accurate and feasible rule(s) for clinical practice is now necessary. Some empirical antimicrobial regimens are still being debated, such as the need for atypical pathogen coverage in home-treated and nonsevere hospitalized patients and the inclusion of respiratory fluoroquinolones among first-choice molecules. New drugs such as tigecycline and cethromycin appear promising. Pharmacokinetically enhanced amoxicillin/clavulanate is highly effective, even for treating CAP caused by multiple-drug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae. Other aspects recently clarified include the inappropriateness of rigid time-to-first-antibiotic-dose rules, the advantages of shorter antibiotic treatments for nonsevere patients and the need of special clinical attention for acute myocardial infarction among patients with severe CAP or clinical failure.
SUMMARY: Recent developments have significantly contributed to refine the management of CAP patients. However, various hot topics remain undefined as yet and urgently require ad-hoc research in order to optimize the outcomes and the costs of this highly social-impacting disease.