Giving older patients antibiotics within four hours of their arrival at a hospital for treatment of pneumonia reduces the length of hospital stay, and may reduce the chances of dying, according to an article in the March 22 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
According to the article, pneumonia is the second leading reason for hospitalization among Medicare beneficiaries, accounting for more than 600,000 Medicare hospitalizations yearly, and is the fifth leading cause of death among Americans older than 65 years. Timely administration of antibiotics to hospitalized patients with pneumonia has been associated with improved survival, the article states. Guidelines recommend antibiotic treatment within eight hours of arrival at a hospital.
Peter M. Houck, M.D., from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Seattle, and colleagues investigated whether administration of antibiotics within less than eight hours of arrival at the hospital was associated with significant improvements in hospitalized patients with pneumonia who had not been treated prior to arriving at the hospital.
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