Open Access
Feature Article

Pneumonia: who is at risk in your practice?

Yewon Chung, Lucy Morgan
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GPs play an important role in the diagnosis, management and referral of patients with pneumonia and are uniquely placed to implement preventive measures such as smoking cessation and vaccination.

Key Points

  • Risk factors for pneumonia include increasing age, smoking and presence of chronic diseases, such as chronic lung disease, heart disease and diabetes.
  • Preventive measures include influenza and pneumococcal vaccination and smoking cessation.
  • GPs are at the front line of management of patients with pneumonia, including diagnosis, starting empirical outpatient antibiotic therapy and referring those who are very ill or at risk of deterioration to hospital.
  • A chest x-ray is important for diagnosis of pneumonia.
  • Most patients respond to empirical antibiotic therapy with amoxycillin, doxycycline or an appropriate macrolide antibiotic.
  • Patients with nonresolving pneumonia require reassessment to confirm the diagnosis, identify the pathogen and look for complications or underlying disease such as malignancy.

    Picture credit: © Teri McDermott.