Go back


    Hospital Acquired Pneumonia (Adult) – Treatment

    Infections, Respiratory

    Last Updated Aug 31, 2020
    Read Disclaimer


    • Hospital Acquired Pneumonia (HAP) = pneumonia acquired after >48 hours of hospitalization.
    • Increased risk of:
      • Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, enteric gram-negative bacilli.
    • Consider sepsis.
    • For COVID-19 see Covid 19: Clinicians.

    Recommended Treatment

    • Pathogen Identification:
      • Allows adjustment to directed therapy.
        • Sputum culture and gram stain.
        • Blood cultures.
        • Consider viral and atypical bacteria swab.
        • Consider urinary antigen testing for pneumoniae.
    • General treatment:
      • Maintain oxygen SpO2 > 92% (if at risk for hypercapnia then SpO2 > 88%).
      • IV fluids – concern of early sepsis/dehydration.
      • Acetaminophen.
    • Empiric Antibiotics:
      • Spectrum App
      • Be aware of local HAP pathogen distribution and resistance patterns.
      • Treatment length is typically 7 days.
      • MRSA Risk factors:
        • IV antibiotics within last 90 days.
        • Hospitalization where >20% of aureus is MRSA or prevalence is unknown.
      • Pseudomonas Risk factors:
        • IV antibiotics within last 90 days.
        • Structural lung disease increasing the risk of gram-negative infection (eg. bronchiectasis).
        • Gram negative bacilli predominant gram stain.
      • High Mortality Risk factors:
        • Septic shock.
        • Ventilator required.
    • No Pseudomonas or high mortality risk factors:
      • Piperacillin-tazobactam 4.5g IV every 6 hours or,
      • Cefepime 2g IV every 8 hours or,
      • Levofloxacin 750mg IV daily or,
      • Imipenem 500mg IV every 6 hours -OR- Meropenem 1g IV every 8 hours.
    • Pseudomonas Risk – Use two antibiotics of different classes
      • One of:
        • Piperacillin-tazobactam 4.5g IV every 6 hours.
        • Cefepime 2g IV every 8 hours -OR- Ceftazidime 2g IV every 8 hours.
        • Imipenem 500mg IV every 6 hours -OR- Meropenem 1g IV every 8 hours.
        • Aztreonam 2g IV every 8 hours.
      • AND one of:
        • Levofloxacin 750mg IV daily -OR- Ciprofloxacin 400mg IV every 8 hours.
        • Amikacin 15–20 mg/kg IV daily -OR- Gentamicin 5–7 mg/kg IV daily -OR- Tobramycin 5–7 mg/kg IV daily.
    • MRSA Risk – ADD one of:
      • Linezolid 600mg IV every 12 hours.
      • Vancomycin:
        • Loading dose:
          • 25-30 mg/kg IV single dose (based on actual body weight; no maximum dose).
        • Maintenance dose:
          • 15 mg/kg IV dose q8-12 hours (based on actual body weight, maximum of 2 g/dose).
          • For doses >500 mg – round to nearest 250 mg.
    • High Mortality Risk
      • Apply both Pseudomonas Risk and MRSA Risk regimens.

    Criteria For Hospital Admission

    • Patients with HAP who are not already admitted should be readmitted to receive intravenous antibiotics.

    Criteria For Close Observation And/or Consult

    • Patients with suspected sepsis, and those requiring vasopressors or ventilation should be admitted to the ICU.
    • Consider transport when a higher level of care than your center provides may be required.

    Quality Of Evidence?


    Main source is the 2016 guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the American Thoracic Society on hospital and ventilator acquired pneumonia – most recommendations they make are based on low quality evidence.


    Related Information

    Reference List

    Relevant Resources


    View all Resources



    Thoracic Ultrasound: Pneumonia

    View all Videos


    COMMENTS (0)

    Add public comment…