The aetiology and clinical features of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) are different in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than in those without the lung condition, Spanish research demonstrates.

These differences are clinically relevant and should be taken into account when deciding how to manage pneumonia in patients with COPD, say Carolina Garcia-Vidal (University of Barcelona) and co-authors writing in PLoS One.

CAP is a frequent complication of COPD but the impact of lung disease on CAP course is unclear. To investigate, the team analysed information on 4121 patients who were hospitalised with CAP episodes over a 16-year period.

The prevalence of COPD in the cohort was 23.9%, which is in line with previous reports, say the authors. The median forced expiratory volume in 1 second was 50.0% and 57.8% had severe or very severe COPD.