In US and European literature, Legionella pneumophila is reported as an important etiologic agent of severe community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), but in Chile this information is lacking. The aim of this study was to determine the incidence and identify predictors of severe CAP caused by L pneumophila in Santiago, Chile.
A multicenter, prospective clinical study lasting 18 months was conducted; it included all adult patients with severe CAP admitted to the ICUs of four hospitals in Santiago. We excluded patients who were immunocompromised, had been hospitalized in the previous 4 weeks, or presented with another disease during their hospitalization. All data for the diagnosis of severe CAP were registered, and urinary antigens for L pneumophila serogroup 1 were determined.
A total of 104 patients with severe CAP were included (mean ± SD age, 58.3 ± 19.3 years; men, 64.4%; APACHE (Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation) II score, 16.7 ± 6.3; Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment score, 6.1 ± 3.2; Pitt Bacteremia Score, 3.4 ± 2.5; Pao2/Fio2, 170.8 ± 87.1). An etiologic agent was identified in 62 patients (59.6%), with the most frequent being Streptococcus pneumoniae (27 patients [26%]) and L pneumophila (nine patients [8.6%]). Logistic regression analysis showed that a plasma sodium level of ≤ 130 mEq/L was an independent predictor for L pneumophila severe CAP (OR, 11.3; 95% CI, 2.5-50.5; P = .002). Global mortality was 26% and 33% for L pneumophila. The Pitt bacteremia score and pneumonia score index were the best predictors of mortality.
We found that in Santiago, L pneumophila was second to S pneumoniae as the etiologic agent of severe CAP. Severe hyponatremia at admission appears to be an indicator for L pneumophila etiology in severe CAP.