Main Article Content
Pneumonia is a frequent cause of hospital admission in elderly patients. Diagnosis of pneumonia in elderly persons with comorbidity may be challenging, due to atypical presentation and complex clinical scenarios. Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) arises out-of-hospital in subjects without previous contact with the healthcare system. Healthcare associated pneumonia (HCAP) occurs in patients who have frequent contacts with the healthcare system and should be treated with empiric broad spectrum antibiotic therapy also covering multi-drug resistant (MDR) pathogens. Recent findings, however, have questioned this approach, because the worse prognosis of HCAP compared to CAP may better reflect increased level of comorbidity and frailty (poor functional status, older age) of HCAP patients, as well as poorer quality of hospital care provided to such patients, rather than pneumonia etiology by MDR pathogens. The Pneumonia in Italian Acute Care for Elderly units (PIACE) Study, promoted by the Società Italiana di Geriatria Ospedale e Territorio (SIGOT), is an observational prospective cohort study of patients consecutively admitted because of pneumonia to hospital acute care units of Geriatrics throughout Italy. Detailed information regarding clinical presentation, diagnosis, etiology, comprehensive geriatric assessment, antibiotic therapy, possible complications and comorbidities was recorded to identify factors potentially predicting in-hospital mortality (primary endpoint), 3-month mortality, length of hospital stay, postdischarge rate of institutionalization and other secondary endpoints. This paper describes the rationale and method of PIACE Study and reviews the main evidence on pneumonia in the elderly.
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