UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Pulmonary

Title: Community-Acquired Pneumonia Guideline Update

Keywords: CAP, Pneumonia (PubMed Search)

Posted: 2/1/2020 by Ashley Martinelli (Updated: 4/22/2024)
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The new IDSA and American Thoracic Society guidelines for community acquired pneumonia were recently released.  Major updates to the guidelines include but are not limited to:

1. It is not recommended to obtain sputum cultures in routine care.  Consider only in patients who are intubated or empirically being treated for hospital associated pathogens such as MRSA or P. aeruginosa.


2. Blood cultures are only recommended for severe CAP managed in the hospital or those empirically being treated for MRSA or P. aeruginosa, or prior infection with those pathogens, or hospitalized and received parenteral antibiotics in the last 90 days.


3. Test for influenza during time periods when influenza is prominent (as in our current 2020 influenza outbreak).


4. Healthy patients can receive either amoxicillin 1g TID, doxycycline 100mg BID, or azithromycin 500mg followed by 250mg daily x 4 doses.


5. Patients with comorbidities such as chronic heart, lung, liver, or renal disease, diabetes, alcoholism, malignancy, or asplenia should receive combination therapy with a beta-lactam (amoxicillin/clavulanate, cefdinir, or cefpodoxime) + azithromycin or doxycycline.  If allergies preclude the use of a beta-lactam, a fluoroquinolone (levofloxacin or moxifloxacin) can be used.


6. Patient admitted for non-severe CAP can receive combination beta-lactam (ampicillin/sulbactam, or ceftriaxone) and azithromycin therapy.  Patients with severe beta-lactam allergies can receive either levofloxacin or moxifloxacin).


7. It is no longer recommended to add anaerobic coverage for suspected aspiration pneumonia unless the patient is suspected to have a lung abscess or empyema.  It is most likely a chemical pneumonitis and should resolve within 24-48 hours with supportive therapy.



Metlay JP, Waterer GW, Long AC, et al. Diagnosis and treatment of adults with community-acquired pneumonia. An official clinical practice guideline of the American Thoracic Society and Infectious Diseases Society of America. Am J Resp Crit Care. 2019;200(7):e45-e67.