Management of Community-Acquired Pneumonia in Older Adults

Ashraf Alzaabi, MD, FRCPC, Respirology Fellow, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

Theodore K. Marras, MD, FRCPC, Respirologist, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network; Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in the older adult is a common disease with significant mortality. This review focuses on the management of CAP, with specific reference to the older adult. Common etiologic organisms and organism-specific risk factors that tend to be associated with increasing age are presented. A systematic approach is described to help physicians decide on the best treatment site (ambulatory, long-term care facility, or acute care hospital). The rationale behind initial empiric antibiotic therapy and drug resistance are discussed. Recent guidelines for the selection of empiric antibiotic therapy are compared and a synthesis of guidelines for antibiotic selection and recommendations regarding parenteral to oral switch-therapy are presented. Guidelines are suggested to help the physician safely discharge the patient home.

Key words:
pneumonia, management, older adults, guidelines, resistance.