Patterns of resolution of chest radiograph abnormalities in adults hospitalized with severe community-acquired pneumonia

Anke H W Bruns, Jan Jelrik Oosterheert, Mathias Prokop, Jan-Willem J Lammers, Eelko Hak, Andy I M Hoepelman

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    BACKGROUND: Timing of follow-up chest radiographs for patients with severe community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is difficult, because little is known about the time to resolution of chest radiograph abnormalities and its correlation with clinical findings. To provide recommendations for short-term, in-hospital chest radiograph follow-up, we studied the rate of resolution of chest radiograph abnormalities in relation to clinical cure, evaluated predictors for delayed resolution, and determined the influence of deterioration of radiographic findings during follow-up on prognosis.

    METHODS: A total of 288 patients who were hospitalized because of severe CAP were followed up for 28 days in a prospective multicenter study. Clinical data and scores for clinical improvement at day 7 and clinical cure at day 28 were obtained. Chest radiographs were obtained at hospital admission and at days 7 and 28. Resolution and deterioration of chest radiograph findings were determined.

    RESULTS: At day 7, 57 (25%) of the patients had resolution of chest radiograph abnormalities, whereas 127 (56%) had clinical improvement (mean difference, 31%; 95% confidence interval, 25%-37%). At day 28, 103 (53%) of the patients had resolution of chest radiograph abnormalities, and 152 (78%) had clinical cure (mean difference, 25%; 95% confidence interval, 19%-31%). Delayed resolution of radiograph abnormalities was independently associated with multilobar disease (odds ratio, 2.87; P < or = .01); dullness to percussion at physical examination (odds ratio, 6.94; P < or = .01); high C-reactive protein level, defined as >200 mg/L (odds ratio, 4.24; P < or = .001); and high respiratory rate at admission, defined as >25 breaths/min (odds ratio, 2.42; P < or = .03). There were no significant differences in outcome at day 28 between patients with and patients without deterioration of chest radiograph findings during the follow-up period (P > .09).

    CONCLUSIONS: Routine short-term follow-up chest radiographs (obtained <28 days after hospital admission) of hospitalized patients with severe CAP seem to provide no additional clinical value.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)983-991
    Number of pages9
    JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 15-Oct-2007


    • Adult
    • Aged
    • Aged, 80 and over
    • C-Reactive Protein
    • Community-Acquired Infections
    • Follow-Up Studies
    • Hospitalization
    • Humans
    • Hyperventilation
    • Lung
    • Middle Aged
    • Percussion
    • Pneumonia
    • Prospective Studies
    • Radiography, Thoracic

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