BACKGROUND: Rational treatment of pneumonia requires knowledge of the likely aetiological diagnosis in any community. Little is known about the pattern and outcome of pneumonia in Saudi Arabia. METHODS: A total of 567 pneumonic episodes in adult patients from the Al-Qassim area were reviewed retrospectively. RESULTS: Patients had a mean age of 42.7 years, with 103 patients (18%) aged 13 to 20 years and 103 (18%) aged 60 or more. Almost two thirds of the episodes (64%) occurred in men. An aetiological diagnosis was established in 351 (62%) cases, with 145 episodes being due to pneumococcal infection and 129 to Mycoplasma pneumonia. Inhospital mortality was 6% (35 patients). Age over 60 years, aspiration pneumonia, and Gram negative infection were the only factors that independently predicted adverse outcome on adjusted mortality analysis. CONCLUSION: This analysis of pneumonia in the Al-Qassim area indicates the pattern and prognosis of acute bacterial and atypical pneumonia that requires admission to hospital in the central region of Saudi Arabia. It should provide a basis for developing rational treatment for community acquired pneumonia in Saudi Arabia.
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