Differences in the etiology of community-acquired pneumonia according to site of care: A population-based study

Jordi Almirall, Ramon Boixeda, Ignasi Bolíbar, Josep Bassa, Goretti Sauca, Josep Vidal, Mateu Serra-Prat, Xavier Balanzó

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Background: A few population-based studies assessing the etiology of community-acquired pneumonia in both hospitalized and ambulatory patients, with special emphasis on the etiologic role of viral infections, have been reported. The purpose of this study was to assess microbiological differences according to initial site of care in patients with community-acquired pneumonia. Methods: We studied 496 patients > 14 years of age collected from the study samples of three population-based studies carried out in the same geographical area ("Maresme" region in the Mediterranean coast in Barcelona, Spain) with the same methodology over an 8-year period (1987-1995). Results: Fifty-six percent of patients were hospitalized and 44% were treated at home. Of the 474 patients with etiological evaluation, 195 patients had an identifiable etiology (overall diagnostic yield 41%). Streptococcus pneumoniae was the most common causative organism. Viral infection was diagnosed in 26.5% of hospitalized patients vs. 13.2% of ambulatory patients (P=0.03). Twenty-five percent of the 68 patients with documented etiology treated at home had Chlamydia pneumoniae infection compared with 14.3% of those treated in the hospital. Ten percent of hospitalized patients had pneumonia caused by two pathogens compared with 9.7% of ambulatory patients. The association of viruses and bacteria was the most frequent cause of dual infection (79% inpatients, 67% outpatients). Conclusions: This study has provided information on etiology of community-acquired pneumonia in hospitalized patients and in patients treated at home. A considerable proportion of patients had viral pneumonia, frequently requiring hospital admission for inpatient care. © 2007.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2168-2175
JournalRespiratory Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2007


  • Community-acquired infections/epidemiology
  • Community-acquired infections/microbiology
  • Epidemiology
  • Pathogens
  • Viral etiology


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