In the Literature: Research You Need to Know


Clinical question: What is the association between time to clinical stability (TCS) and post-discharge death or readmission in patients hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP)?

Background: In patients with CAP, inflammatory response during hospitalization might be associated with adverse outcomes after discharge. Studies have not evaluated if time to clinical stability, a reflection of inflammatory response, can be used to identify patients at high risk of adverse outcomes after discharge.

Study design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: Veterans Hospital, Louisville, Ky.

Synopsis: Of 464 hospitalized patients with CAP, those with TCS >3 days had a higher rate of readmission or death within 30 days after discharge compared with those who had a TCS =3 days (26% versus 15%; OR 1.98; 95% CI, 1.19-3.3; P=0.008). Longer TCS during hospitalization was associated with a significantly increased risk of adverse outcomes (adjusted OR 1.06, 1.54, 2.40, 10.53 if TCS was reached at days 2, 3, 4, 5 versus Day 1, respectively). The authors proposed that patients with delays in reaching clinical stability should receive a special discharge management approach to decrease the risk of morbidity and mortality after discharge; this may include close observation, home visits, and a follow-up clinic appointment within 10 days.

As a retrospective cohort study, unaccounted-for confounders might exist between TCS and adverse outcomes. The small sample size precluded development of a fully predictive model. Additionally, the population studied was elderly men in a single hospital, which might limit generalizability.

Bottom line: Hospitalized patients with community-acquired pneumonia whose time to clinical stability was greater than three days had a higher risk of readmission or death within 30 days after discharge.

Citation: Aliberti S, Peyrani P, Filardo G, et al. Association between time to clinical stability and outcomes after discharge in hospitalized patients with community-acquired pneumonia. Chest. 2011;140:482-488.

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