Studies: Pneumonia is misdiagnosed on patient readmissions

Oct 22, 2010

Patients were misdiagnosed with pneumonia at an alarming rate when they were readmitted to the hospital shortly after a previous hospitalization for the same illness, according to two Henry Ford Hospital companion studies.

Researchers say the misdiagnoses led to overuse of antibiotics and increased . Pneumonia ranks second to congestive as the reason for readmission within 30 days of a previous hospitalization.

Led by Henry Ford Infectious Diseases physicians Hiren Pokharna, M.D., and Norman Markowitz, M.D., researchers found that:

  • 72 percent of patients were misdiagnosed with pneumonia upon readmission to the same hospital.
  • African-Americans were twice more likely than Caucasians to be misdiagnosed with pneumonia.
  • Patients who smoke or have lung disease were likely to be misdiagnosed with pneumonia.
  • 72 percent of the misdiagnoses occurred in the Emergency Department.
  • Fewer than 33 percent of patients had any outpatient follow-up care prior to their readmission.
Results of the two companion studies will be presented Friday at the 48th annual meeting of the Society of America Oct. 21-24 in Vancouver.

"These studies show that we need to increase awareness among physicians about using the diagnostic standards and criteria set forth in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Healthcare Safety Network for diagnosing pneumonia at the time of readmission," says Dr. Pokharna, a fellow at Henry Ford and the lead author of the companion studies.

"This also points to the importance of using X-ray for ruling out pneumonia. And once pneumonia is ruled out, the antibiotics can be discontinued."

In seeking to explain the difficulty of diagnosing pneumonia and high prevalence of misdiagnoses, Henry Ford researchers examined medical records of 127 patients diagnosed with pneumonia between December 2008 and December 2009 and readmitted within 30 days of a previous hospitalization.

Researchers found that 92 of the 127 patients were misdiagnosed with health care associated pneumonia using CDC/National Healthcare Safety Network criteria. Health care associated pneumonia is a newly recognized form of in patients who had recent close contact with a health care system, either through a hospital, outpatient dialysis center, nursing home or long-term care facility. The classification was added with the shift from hospital-based care to home-based care.

Researchers cited several reasons for the misdiagnoses, including pre-existing lung disease and abnormalities on chest X-rays.

Explore further: West Africa's Ebola outbreak prompts changes in I.Coast cuisine

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Lower-cost hospital care is not always lower in quality

Feb 22, 2010

The costs that hospitals incur in treating patients vary widely and do not appear to be strongly associated either with the quality of care patients receive or their risk of dying within 30 days, according to a report in ...

Flu vaccine may not protect seniors well

Aug 01, 2008

A Group Health study in the August 2 issue of The Lancet adds fuel to the growing controversy over how well the flu vaccine protects the elderly.

Statins associated with lower risk of death from pneumonia

Oct 27, 2008

Individuals who take cholesterol-lowering statins before being hospitalized with pneumonia appear less likely to die within 90 days afterward, according to a report in the October 27 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of ...

Recommended for you

Two expats die of MERS in Saudi commercial hub

23 hours ago

Two foreigners died of MERS in the Saudi city of Jeddah, the health ministry said Saturday, as fears rise over the spreading respiratory virus in the kingdom's commercial hub.

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

23 hours ago

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

Apr 19, 2014

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Cancer stem cells linked to drug resistance

Most drugs used to treat lung, breast and pancreatic cancers also promote drug-resistance and ultimately spur tumor growth. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered ...

Finnish inventor rethinks design of the axe

(Phys.org) —Finnish inventor Heikki Kärnä is the man behind the Vipukirves Leveraxe, which is a precision tool for splitting firewood. He designed the tool to make the job easier and more efficient, with ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.