Pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, is common among patients in both the community and the institutional setting and is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Canada. In 2001, combined with influenza, pneumonia was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, after cardiovascular disease, cancer, cerebrovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), accidents, and diabetes mellitus. In the community setting, elderly patients account for most admissions to hospital and most deaths due to community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Nosocomial or hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) is the second most common nosocomial infection after urinary tract infection. In the intensive care unit (ICU), ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is common in mechanically ventilated patients, accounting for 86% of HAP. Several risk factors such as age and concurrent illnesses may predispose a patient to pneumonia or may affect morbidity and mortality rates. Over the past decade, guidelines have been developed for the management, treatment, and prevention of pneumonia in various settings. This article provides an overview of the epidemiology, pathogenesis, risk factors, diagnosis, management, and prevention of pneumonia, as well as the causative pathogenic organisms and antimicrobial resistance issues.
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