Study determines best treatment timeline for MRSA-related pneumonia

A recent study at Henry Ford Hospital found that while the national practice guideline for treating MRSA-related pneumonia is seven to 21 days, effective treatment time could be achieved in half that time.

Researchers determined that patients treated for eight to 13 days on a therapy of either vancomycin or linezolid antibiotics experienced the highest rate of survival. The study is thought to be the first to evaluate MRSA-related pneumonia's length of treatment.

The study was presented on Friday at the San Diego-based meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

"Based on our study, clinicians can effectively treat their patients within eight to 13 days, thus minimizing patients' exposure to antibiotics and their side effects," Hadeel Zainah, the study's lead author, said.

The retrospective study involved the evaluation of the medical charts of 115 patients who were hospitalized with MRSA pneumonia. The patients received either linezolid, vancomycin or both.

Forty-percent of the patients were treated from eight to 13 days, 27 percent were treated for 14 to 20 days, and 13.9 percent of patients received treatment for more than 20 days. Patients treated between 14 and 20 days and for more than 20 days experienced lower survival rates.

Thirty-two of the patients died after 28 days.

The study did not evaluate if treatment duration affected length of stay or whether one antibiotic was more effective than the other.

MRSA-related pneumonia is a respiratory illness that can follow a bout of influenza. Symptoms include fever, chills, shortness of breath, headache, sore throat and cough.