The presence of bacteremia in patients with pneumonia is associated with a worse in-hospital course of illness and poorer patient outcomes, according to researchers. This is despite illness severity being similar on admission to patients without bacteraemia, said the study authors.

Writing in BMC Pulmonary Medicine, the researchers explain that case-fatality rates among adults with bacteraemic pneumococcal pneumonia have improved little in the past 3 decades and, in general, remain high. This is despite the introduction of the pneumococcal vaccination.

Patients with pneumococcal bacteremia had significantly higher need for mechanical ventilation use, septic shock and treatment failure during hospitalization, and higher rates of in-hospital, 15-day and 30-day mortality, as well as longer hospital stays.