PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Severe pneumonia is a common disease that intensive care physicians have to face. The review highlights recent findings about microbiology, diagnosis and treatment, including the management of critically ill patients with severe respiratory failure. RECENT FINDINGS: Epidemiological and clinical risk factors strongly influence microbiological cause in patients with severe pneumonia. In addition to typical respiratory pathogens, less common microrganisms and multidrug-resistant (MDR) germs may cause severe lung infections. New molecular diagnostic techniques appear promising for early detection of microbes involved in severe pneumonia. Antimicrobials remain the mainstay of causative severe pneumonia treatment and the optimization of antibiotic therapy may be obtained by applying their pharmacodynamic/pharmacokinetic properties. Several new strategies have been implemented for the management of acute respiratory failure (ARF) due to severe pneumonia; however, their extensive clinical application is limited by the need for well trained physicians and adequate hospital centers. SUMMARY: Despite advancements in antibiotic and life-supportive treatments, severe pneumonia remains a leading cause of intensive care unit (ICU) admission and death. Prompt and appropriate antimicrobial therapy is essential. The use of new nonconventional strategies for ARF management might be effective in more severe patients.
- acute respiratory failure
- appropriate antimicrobial therapy
- critically ill patients
- early detection of microbes
- intensive care unit
- multidrug-resistant germs
- optimization of antibiotic therapy