BACKGROUND--Elderly patients admitted to hospital for community acquired pneumonia have a high risk of recurrence of pneumonia and of death during the years after discharge. In this study potential factors of importance for the long term prognosis after hospital treated pneumonia were retrospectively investigated. METHODS--A total of 241 patients (103 men) with a mean age of 60 (range 18-102) years discharged from hospital after treatment for community acquired pneumonia were studied. After an average follow up period of 31 months, 18 independent variables present during hospital treatment of the initial pneumonia were examined for association with the following end points: recurrence of pneumonia, death from any cause, and death from pneumonia. RESULTS--Age adjusted analysis showed that systemic treatment with corticosteroids correlated significantly with recurrence of pneumonia and with death. The presence of low serum albumin levels on admission or colonisation of the respiratory tract with Gram negative enteric bacteria seemed to be important negative prognostic factors for the outcome during pneumonia recurrences after discharge. CONCLUSIONS--Patients who are admitted to hospital with pneumonia are at risk of subsequent pneumonia and death after discharge. This risk seems to be even higher in patients who are treated with corticosteroids systemically, who have a low serum albumin level on admission, or who become colonised in the respiratory tract with Gram negative enteric bacteria during their hospital stay.
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