Etiology and Risk Factors for Mortality in an Adult Community-acquired Pneumonia Cohort in Malawi

Stephen J Aston, Antonia Ho, Hannah Jary, Jacqueline Huwa, Tamara Mitchell, Sarah Ibitoye, Simon Greenwood, Elizabeth Joekes, Arthur Daire, Jane Mallewa, Dean Everett, Mulinda Nyirenda, Brian Faragher, Henry C Mwandumba, Robert S Heyderman, Stephen B Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale: In the context of rapid antiretroviral therapy rollout and an increasing burden of noncommunicable diseases, there are few contemporary data describing the etiology and outcome of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in sub-Saharan Africa.Objectives: To describe the current etiology of CAP in Malawi and identify risk factors for mortality.Methods: We conducted a prospective observational study of adults hospitalized with CAP to a teaching hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. Etiology was defined by blood culture, Streptococcus pneumoniae urinary antigen detection, sputum mycobacterial culture and Xpert MTB/RIF, and nasopharyngeal aspirate multiplex PCR.Measurements and Main Results: In 459 patients (285 [62.1%] males; median age, 34.7 [interquartile range, 29.4-41.9] yr), 30-day mortality was 14.6% (64/439) and associated with male sex (adjusted odds ratio, 2.60 [95% confidence interval, 1.17-5.78]), symptom duration greater than 7 days (2.78 [1.40-5.54]), tachycardia (2.99 [1.48-6.06]), hypoxemia (4.40 [2.03-9.51]), and inability to stand (3.59 [1.72-7.50]). HIV was common (355/453; 78.4%), frequently newly diagnosed (124/355; 34.9%), but not associated with mortality. S. pneumoniae (98/458; 21.4%) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (75/326; 23.0%) were the most frequently identified pathogens. Viral infection occurred in 32.6% (148/454) with influenza (40/454; 8.8%) most common. Bacterial-viral coinfection occurred in 9.1% (28/307). Detection of M. tuberculosis was associated with mortality (adjusted odds ratio, 2.44 [1.19-5.01]).Conclusions: In the antiretroviral therapy era, CAP in Malawi remains predominantly HIV associated, with a large proportion attributable to potentially vaccine-preventable pathogens. Strategies to increase early detection and treatment of tuberculosis and improve supportive care, in particular the correction of hypoxemia, should be evaluated in clinical trials to address CAP-associated mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-369
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019

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