Diagnosis of Stroke-Associated Pneumonia
Recommendations From the Pneumonia in Stroke Consensus Group
Background and Purpose—Lower respiratory tract infections frequently complicate stroke and adversely affect outcome. There is currently no agreed terminology or gold-standard diagnostic criteria for the spectrum of lower respiratory tract infections complicating stroke, which has implications for clinical practice and research. The aim of this consensus was to propose standardized terminology and operational diagnostic criteria for lower respiratory tract infections complicating acute stroke.
Methods—Systematic literature searches of multiple electronic databases were undertaken. An evidence review and 2 rounds of consensus consultation were completed before a final consensus meeting in September 2014, held in Manchester, United Kingdom. Consensus was defined a priori as ≥75% agreement between the consensus group members.
Results—Consensus was reached for the following: (1) stroke-associated pneumonia (SAP) is the recommended terminology for the spectrum of lower respiratory tract infections within the first 7 days after stroke onset; (2) modified Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria are proposed for SAP as follows—probable SAP: CDC criteria met, but typical chest x-ray changes absent even after repeat or serial chest x-ray; definite SAP: CDC criteria met, including typical chest x-ray changes; (3) there is limited evidence for a diagnostic role of white blood cell count or C-reactive protein in SAP; and (4) there is insufficient evidence for the use of other biomarkers (eg, procalcitonin).
Conclusions—Consensus operational criteria for the terminology and diagnosis of SAP are proposed based on the CDC criteria. These require prospective evaluation in patients with stroke to determine their reliability, validity, impact on clinician behaviors (including antibiotic prescribing), and clinical outcomes.
- Received April 1, 2015.
- Revision received May 14, 2015.
- Accepted May 22, 2015.
- © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.