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The prevalence of complications of pneumonia among adults admitted to a tertiary care center in Riyadh from 2010-2017

Sara Ibrahim Alshahwan,a Ghada Alsowailmi,a Afnan Alsahli,a Amal Alotaibi,a Murtadha Alshaikh,b Mohammed Almajed,b Aamir Omair,a Hind Almodaimeghc 

From the aCollege of Medicine, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; bMaternity Children’s Hospital, Al Ahsa, Saudi Arabia; cDepartment of Pharmaceutical Care, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

How to cite this article:

Alshahwan SI, Alsowailmi G, Alsahli A, Alotaibi A, Alshaikh M, Almajed M, et al. The prevalence of complications of pneumonia among adults admitted to a tertiary care center in Riyadh from 2010-2017. Ann Saudi Med 2019; 29(1): 29-36.


BACKGROUND: Pneumonia, the commonest lower respiratory tract infection, can result in respiratory and non-respiratory complications. Few studies have reported on the prevalence of many complications.


OBJECTIVES: Identify the prevalence of 18 complications of pneumonia and compare complication rates by age group and type of pneumonia. Identify most prevalent comorbidities, the effect of the number of comorbidities on the presence of complications, and the association between specific comorbidities and specific complications.


DESIGN: Retrospective, cross-sectional prevalence study.


SETTING: Tertiary care center in Riyadh.


PATIENTS AND METHODS: The target population were patients aged 17 years and older, of different nationalities and both genders, diagnosed with pneumonia during the period of 2010 to 2017. Selection was by stratified sampling by year of admission.


MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Complications of pneumonia.




RESULTS: Complications were observed in 427 patients (53.4%). The complications were respiratory in 258 patients (32%), sepsis and septic shock in 186 (23%), cardiac in 125 (16%), neurological in 5 (0.6%), and cholestatic jaundice in 2 (0.3%). Pleural effusion was the commonest complication, observed in 230 patients. There was a significant difference (P<.001) between the complication rates in older patients compared to younger (60% as compared to 41%). For the type of pneumonia, there was a significant difference (P<.001) between community-acquired pneumonia and hospital-acquired pneumonia in the presence of complications (OR=2.41, 95% CI for OR=1.66, 3.49). The number of comorbidities was significantly associated with the presence of complications (P=.001) for those with multiple comorbidities (46% for patients with no comorbid illnesses versus 68% in patients with three or more comorbidities).


CONCLUSION: These results suggest that Saudi Arabia needs to establish better prevention and intervention programs, especially for the high-risk groups identified in this study: older patients, patients with hospital-acquired pneumonia and patients with two or more comorbidities.


LIMITATIONS: Retrospective design and single-centered.





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