What is healthcare-associated pneumonia (HCAP)?

Updated: Sep 30, 2020
  • Author: Burke A Cunha, MD; Chief Editor: John L Brusch, MD, FACP  more...
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The term healthcare-associated pneumonia (HCAP) was defined as pneumonia in nonhospitalized patients who had significant experience with the healthcare system. Such contact could include (1) intravenous therapy for wound care within the preceding 30 days, (2) residence in a long-term care facility, (3) hospitalization in an acute-care hospital within the preceding 90 days, and/or (4) outpatient treatment in a hospital or hemodialysis clinic within the preceding 30 days. These individuals were believed to be at an increased risk for infection with multidrug-resistant (MDR) organisms because of such contact. [1] However, more recent studies have indicated that many individuals who met the criteria for HCAP were not infected with MDR pathogens. [2] The risk of infection with MDR organisms appears to depend much more on specific risk factors of the given patient than on contact with various aspects of the healthcare system. Patients who would have met the criteria for HCAP should not be empirically treated with antibiotics to cover MDR bacteria unless they have valid risk factors for acquiring MDR organisms. [3, 4]

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