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American Thoracic Society Journal news tips for April 2004 (second issue)

DOES SURVIVING PNEUMONIA MEAN JUST A SHORT-TERM LEASE ON LIFE?

Researchers have shown that the subsequent 2 to 3 years after discharge from the hospital following treatment for pneumonia may provide only a short-term lease on a future healthy life if the patient has certain significant and independent predictors of mortality. Investigators ascertained the survival status of 366 community-acquired pneumonia patients who were hospitalized at Methodist Healthcare Memphis Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee. The investigators showed that increasing age, together with accompanying cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, presence of an altered mental state, and anemia were significant and independent predictors of mortality in the subsequent 2 to 3 years after hospital discharge for pneumonia. In their research, the investigators were able to ascertain the survival status of 97 percent of the patients over an average of 3 years after discharge. Death occurred in 125 patients after discharge from the hospital. In their study, they found no apparent excess medium-term mortality in the 18-40-year- old former pneumonia patients who had no other accompanying diseases. However, they did find a trend toward higher mortality in older age groups with no accompanying disease, especially in 41- 60-year-old age group. They said that, although the trend evidence was not statistically significant, it did not exclude the possibility that pneumonia might be a sentinel event for increased mortality in a subgroup of patients. In an editorial on the subject by Scott F. Dowell, M.D., a representative of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who is with the International Emerging Infections Program in Thailand, he wrote: (the researchers) "provide a useful contribution to a growing body of evidence indicating that patient hospitalization for pneumonia can expect a mortality rate that is modestly to substantially increased over the subsequent 1 to 4 years." Dr
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Contact: Cathy Carlomagno
ccarlomagno@thoracic.org
212-315-6442
American Thoracic Society
12-Apr-2004


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