What is healthcare-associated pneumonia (HCAP)?

Updated: Apr 15, 2021
  • Author: Kartika Shetty, MD, FACP; 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 and were believed to be at an increased risk for infection with multidrug-resistant (MDR) organisms because of such contact [2] ; however, more recent studies have indicated that many individuals who met the criteria for HCAP were not infected with MDR pathogens. [3]  Retrospective studies have actually suggested a worse outcome when broad-spectrum antibiotics were used in these cases. The risk for 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. [4, 5]

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