[Skip to Navigation]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
August 7, 1995

High Alcohol Intake as a Risk and Prognostic Factor for Community-Acquired Pneumonia

Author Affiliations

From the Alcohol Research (Drs Fernández-Solá, Junqué, Estruch, Monforte, and Urbano-Márquez) and Pneumology (Dr Torres) Units, Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona (Spain).

Arch Intern Med. 1995;155(15):1649-1654. doi:10.1001/archinte.1995.00430150137014

Objective:  To evaluate whether high alcohol intake is an independent risk factor for community-acquired pneumonia in middle-aged people and whether it confers a poor prognosis.

Methods:  A two-phase study was performed. Risk factors for community-acquired pneumonia were evaluated in a case-control study of 50 patients and 50 controls. Prognostic factors and microbiologic and clinical features were then evaluated in a cohort study of the 50 middle-aged patients with community-acquired pneu

Results:  In the first study, the only independent risk factor for community-acquired pneumonia was high alcohol intake (P<.02). In the second study, patients with chronic alcoholism had a higher incidence of pneumonia caused by gram-negative bacilli (P<.03), as well as a higher incidence of Candida albicans (P<.03), Staphylococcus aureus (P<.0001), and gram-negative bacilli (P<.001) in the cultures of pharyngeal smears than did the nonalcoholics. Compared with nonalcoholic patients, alcoholic patients with pneumonia showed more severe clinical symptoms (P<.02), required longer intravenous treatment (P<.02) and longer hospital stay (P<.01), and had multilobar involvement and pleural effusion (both P<.01), as well as slower resolution of pulmonary infiltrates. The only prognostic factor for mortality was high alcohol intake (P<.03).

Conclusions:  High alcohol intake is the main risk factor for developing community-acquired pneumonia in middle-aged people. This situation also confers a worse prognosis in these patients, who should be treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics for a longer period.(Arch Intern Med. 1995;155:1649-1654)