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Guidelines and Critical Pathways for Severe Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia*

Stanley Fiel, MD, FCCP
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*From MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.

Correspondence to: Stanley Fiel, MD, FCCP, Professor of Medicine, MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine, 3300 Henry Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19129



Chest. 2001;119(2_suppl):412S-418S. doi:10.1378/chest.119.2_suppl.412S
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Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Early, appropriate, and adequate empiric therapy can increase the chance of survival. In 1995, the American Thoracic Society provided guidelines for the initial treatment of immunocompetent HAP patients, which is one of the principal HAP management approaches available to physicians today. However, these guidelines have several important limitations, including a lack of recommendations for duration of therapy and no recognition of newer drugs such as cefepime, trovafloxacin, and meropenem. Furthermore, they fail to distinguish among similar compounds (ie, β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitor combinations) or to recommend specific antibiotics. The clinician using these guidelines needs to address local patterns of antimicrobial resistance, especially in ICUs. Effective computerized antibiotic management programs that incorporate information on local patterns of antimicrobial resistance can assist physicians in empiric therapy decision making, improve patient quality of care, and reduce medical costs.

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