New Guidelines for Antibiotic Treatment of Pneumonia

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the American Thoracic Society (ATS) have released new clinical practice guidelines for diagnosing and treating hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP).

The guideline updates were written by a committee of 18 subject-matter experts, including a chair from the IDSA and a chair from the ATS. They used the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology to evaluate the evidence.

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Notably, the guidelines divide healthcare-associated pneumonia into 2 groups: HAP and VAP, and also recommended that hospitals develop an antibiogram to help guide the choice of antibiotics.

The guidelines also recommended that HAP and VAP be treated with antibiotic courses lasting 7 days or less, rather than longer durations.

“In an effort to minimize patient harm and exposure to unnecessary antibiotics and reduce the development of antibiotic resistance, we recommend that the antibiogram data be utilized to decrease the unnecessary use of dual gram-negative and empiric methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) antibiotic treatment,” the committee said.

“We also recommend short-course antibiotic therapy for most patients with HAP or VAP independent of microbial etiology, as well as antibiotic de-escalation.”

—Amanda Balbi


Kalil AC, Metersky ML, Klompas M, et al. Management of adults with hospital-acquired and ventilator-associated pneumonia: 2016 clinical practice guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the American Thoracic Society [published online July 14, 2016]. Clin Infect Dis. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciw353.