Researchers at several Portuguese clinical and research institutions have found that patients with diabetes mellitus are more likely to develop community-acquired pneumonia, experience longer hospitalization periods, and have higher mortality rates than patients without diabetes.
The findings suggest that diabetes is a risk factor for community-acquired pneumonia and therefore, proper healthcare measures and precautions should be put into practice.
The article describing the findings is titled “Diabetes hinders community-acquired pneumonia outcomes in hospitalized patients,” and was published in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.
Previous research had pointed to a possible association between diabetes and a higher risk for community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). In the current epidemiology study, researchers aimed to investigate the prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) in hospitalized patients with CAP, and the impact of the disease on hospital stay length and mortality rates.
Researchers analyzed patient data from CAP adult patients admitted to hospitals between 2009 and 2012. In total, 74,175 patients were included in the study, and researchers searched for diagnoses of diabetes in patient records using nationwide diabetes statistics from the national diabetes prevalence study (PREVADIAB).
Patients were stratified according to age, sex, hospitalization time, and mortality rate, and the rates of community-acquired pneumonia with and without concomitant diabetes were compared.
Results indicated that, among the analyzed patients, 19,212 (25.9 percent) had diabetes. Those patients with CAP and diabetes experienced longer hospital stays when compared to patients with pneumonia but no diabetes. The difference in length of stay was 0.8 to 1 days longer for patients with diabetes, for an estimated increase of 15,370 days attributable to diabetes.
The in-hospital mortality rates were higher for patients with diabetes and pneumonia (15.2 percent) vs. patients only diagnosed with pneumonia (13.5 percent). The diabetes burden was seen to increase over time, from 23.7 percent in 2009 to 28.1 percent in 2012. As opposed to what is observed in the general population, the prevalence of diabetes in CAP cases was higher in women than in men — 25.1 percent vs. 22.8 percent, respectively.
“Our analysis revealed that DM [diabetes mellitus] prevalence was significantly increased within CAP hospital admissions, reinforcing other studies’ findings that suggest that DM is a risk factor for CAP,” the research team concluded. “Since patients with CAP who have DM have longer hospitalization time and higher mortality rates, these results hold informative value for patient guidance and healthcare strategies.”