Bacterial pneumonia patients at increased risk of major heart problems

Jun 18, 2007

A new study suggests patients hospitalized with pneumonia may be at serious risk of new or worsening heart problems. The study is published in the July 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Researchers led by Daniel Musher, MD, studied the records of all 170 patients hospitalized with pneumococcal pneumonia at a Texas Veterans Affairs medical center from 2001 to 2005. They found that 19.4 percent of them had a heart attack or other major heart problem concurrently at the time of admission, and that the presence of the heart condition significantly increased mortality from pneumonia.

In this study, the authors note, when adult patients were hospitalized with a diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia, “the concurrence of pneumonia and a new cardiac event was often unrecognized, especially in the first 12-24 hours of hospitalization, which led some patients to go without antibiotics for pneumonia and others to have no cardiac monitoring or anticoagulant therapy.”

The authors propose that pneumonia increases the risk of heart problems by increasing the heart’s demand for oxygen while simultaneously causing a decrease in the lungs’ ability to transfer oxygen from the air to the blood. Also, pneumonia raises blood levels of a type of a chemical signal called a cytokine that promotes the formation of blood clots and that decreases the efficiency of the heart.

“Physicians who take care of patients with pneumonia or with acute coronary syndromes need to be aware of the possible concurrence of the two diseases in an individual patient,” said Dr. Musher.

Fast Facts

-- Nearly 20 percent of patients admitted with pneumococcal pneumonia at a Texas Veterans Affairs medical center had a heart attack or other major heart problem concurrently at the time of admission, and the heart condition significantly increased mortality from pneumonia.

-- When patients were diagnosed with pneumonia, the heart problem frequently went unrecognized.

-- Physicians should be aware of the possibility that a patient has both conditions.

Source: Infectious Diseases Society of America

Explore further: Presence of peers ups health workers' hand hygiene

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Indonesia to ratify ASEAN haze agreement

28 minutes ago

Indonesia's parliament on Tuesday voted to ratify a regional agreement on cross-border haze as fires ripped through forests in the west of the country, choking neighbouring Singapore with hazardous smog.

White House backs use of body cameras by police

2 hours ago

Requiring police officers to wear body cameras is one potential solution for bridging deep mistrust between law enforcement and the public, the White House said, weighing in on a national debate sparked by the shooting of ...

Recommended for you

Presence of peers ups health workers' hand hygiene

13 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The presence of other health care workers improves hand hygiene adherence, according to a study published in the October issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

Sierra Leone streets deserted as shutdown begins

21 hours ago

Sierra Leone's normally chaotic capital resembled a ghost town on Friday as residents were confined to their homes for the start of a three-day lockdown aimed at halting the deadly Ebola epidemic.

Sierra Leone launches controversial Ebola shutdown

22 hours ago

Sierra Leone on Friday launched a controversial three-day shutdown to contain the deadly spread of the Ebola virus, as the UN Security Council declared the deadly outbreak a threat to world peace.

User comments : 0