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Clincial Investigations: INFECTION |

Severe Community-Acquired Pneumonia due to Acinetobacter baumannii*

Ming-Zen Chen, MD; Po-Ren Hsueh, MD; Li-Na Lee, MD, PhD, FCCP; Chong-Jen Yu, MD, PhD; Pan-Chyr Yang, MD, PhD, FCCP; Kwen-Tay Luh, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

*From the Departments of Internal Medicine (Drs. Chen, Yu, and Yang), and Laboratory Medicine (Drs. Hsueh, Lee, and Luh), National Taiwan University Hospital, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan.

Correspondence to: Li-Na Lee, MD, PhD, FCCP, Department of Laboratory Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, 7 Chung Shan South Rd, Taipei 100, Taiwan; e-mail: linalee@ccms.ntu.edu.tw



Chest. 2001;120(4):1072-1077. doi:10.1378/chest.120.4.1072
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Study objectives: To investigate the clinical, epidemiologic, and microbiological characteristics of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) due to Acinetobacter baumannii.

Methods: Retrospective chart and radiographic reviews of all patients who were admitted to National Taiwan University Hospital from January 1993 to August 1999, fulfilled the criteria for CAP, and had an isolate of A baumannii from blood or pleural fluid at hospital admission.

Results: Thirteen patients (9 men and 4 women; age range, 37 to 85 years) met the criteria. Conditions associated with the infection included male gender, old age, alcoholism, malignancy, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, renal disease, and liver cirrhosis. Eleven patients (85%) acquired the infection during the warmer months of April to October. Twelve patients (92%) had a fulminant course presenting with septic shock and respiratory failure, and 11 patients (85%) needed ventilator support and were treated in an ICU. Six patients (46%) had leukopenia. Lobar consolidations were found in 12 patients (92%), and pleural effusions were present in 4 patients (31%). All patients had positive blood culture results, two patients (15%) had positive pleural effusion culture findings, and nine patients (69%) positive sputum culture results. All the isolates were susceptible to imipenem, and most were susceptible to aminoglycosides, ceftazidime, ciprofloxacin, and extended-spectrum penicillins. Eight patients (62%) died. Four of the five survivors were initially treated with combination of a third-generation cephalosporin and an aminoglycoside.

Conclusion:A baumannii should be considered as a possible etiologic agent in community-acquired lobar pneumonia when (1) patients with a fulminant course present during the warmer and more humid months of the year, and (2) patients are younger alcoholics. A good sputum smear, defined as a Gram stain smear of an adequate sputum specimen that comes from the lower respiratory tract and contains > 25 leukocytes per high-power (100×) field on microscopic examination, can help early diagnosis and treatment. A combination of a third-generation cephalosporin and an aminoglycoside may be appropriate empirical therapy.

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