Oldest Adults Bear Burden of Pneumonia, New Rapid Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines Needed

July 22, 2015 | Strategic Insights for Health System


The burden of community-acquired pneumonia requiring hospitalization among adults is substantial and becomes significantly greater as age increases, according to the results of a study published online July 14, 2015, in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study, which evaluated 2,320 patients age 18 or older who were admitted to one of five hospitals from January 1, 2010, to June 30, 2012, for respiratory illness with radiographic evidence of pneumonia, found that the annual incidence of pneumonia was approximately 24.8 cases per 10,000 adults. When compared with the estimated incidence among adults 18 to 49 years of age (6.7 cases per 10,000 adults), the estimated incidences of hospitalization for pneumonia among adults 50 to 64 years of age (26.3 cases per 10,000 adults), 65 to 79 years of age (63.0 cases per 10,000 adults), and 80 years of age or older (164.3 cases per 10,000 adults) were approximately 4, 9, and 25 times as high, respectively. Among 2,259 patients who had both radiographic evidence of pneumonia and specimens available for testing, a pathogen was detected in 853 (38%).

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