A new study has revealed that patients with community acquired pneumonia (CAP) are more at risk of the disease if they are elderly and living in a nursing home.
CAP is a leading cause of death in developed countries and elderly people now represent about 50% of patients.
A study carried out by Henning Kothe of the University of Lübeck in Germany and colleagues looked at the records of 2,647 patients with CAP.
It split these patients into two groups, those aged under 65 and those aged 65 or over, and took into account their clinical history, residence status, course of disease, microbiological findings and antimicrobial treatment.
The results showed that elderly patients had a significantly higher mortality rate, with deaths occurring in 10.3% of patients aged over 65.
Of the factors associated with death, age and living in a nursing home had the highest impact. Nursing home residents were four times as likely to die as people from the same age group who lived in their own homes.
"The risk factors described in the present study may help in the further identification of CAP patients at increased risk of mortality who require special attention during the course of the disease," the report's authors, writing in the European Respiratory Journal, conclude.