The identification of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteremia in hospitalized patients with community-acquired pneumonia is considered by some investigators to be an exclusion criterion for early switch from intravenous to oral therapy.
To determine whether the switch from intravenous to oral therapy in such patients, once the patient reaches clinical stability, is associated with poor clinical outcome.
The medical records of 400 patients with community-acquired pneumonia hospitalized at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center of Louisville (Louisville, Ky) were reviewed to identify patients with bacteremic S pneumoniae. Four criteria were used to define when a patient reached clinical stability and should be considered a candidate for switch therapy: (1) cough and shortness of breath are improving, (2) patient is afebrile for at least 8 hours, (3) white blood cell count is normalizing, and (4) oral intake and gastrointestinal tract absorption are adequate.
A total of 36 bacteremic patients were identified. No clinical failures occurred in 18 patients who reached clinical stability and were switched to oral therapy or in 7 patients who reached clinical stability and continued intravenous therapy. Clinical failures (5 deaths) occurred in the group of 11 patients who did not reach clinical stability.
Once a hospitalized patient with community-acquired pneumonia reaches clinical stability, it is safe to switch from intravenous to oral antibiotics even if bacteremia caused by S pneumoniae was initially documented.