Continuing Medical Education

Management of community-acquired pneumonia in children: South African oracic Society guidelines (part 3)

G Reubenson, T Avenant, D P Moore, G Itzikowitz, S Andronikou, C Cohen, R J Green, P Jeena, R Masekela, M P Nicol, A Pillay, S A Madhi, H J Zar, A C Argent

Abstract


Background. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) administration and other advances have been associated with a shift in the aetiological spectrum of community-acquired pneumonia, necessitating reconsideration of empiric antibiotic treatment guidelines. Management strategies have also evolved in the last decade.

Objectives. To produce revised guidelines for the treatment of pneumonia in South African (SA) children, including ambulatory, hospital and intensive care management.

Methods. An expert subgroup, reviewing evidence on the management of childhood pneumonia, was convened as part of a broader group revising SA guidelines. Evidence was graded using the British Thoracic Society (BTS) grading system and recommendations were made.

Results. Antibiotic treatment depends on the child’s age, possible aetiology, antimicrobial resistance patterns, previous treatment, as well as factors affecting host susceptibility, including HIV, and nutritional and vaccination status. All children with signs of severe pneumonia should receive antibiotics. Children <1 month of age with pneumonia should be hospitalised and treated with ampicillin and an aminoglycoside. For treatment of ambulatory children >1 month of age, high-dose amoxicillin remains the preferred antibiotic. For severe pneumonia in this age group, hospitalisation and empiric treatment with amoxicillin-clavulanate orally is recommended; if oral therapy is not tolerated, intravenous therapy is recommended. Generally, 5 days of therapy is proposed, but longer duration may be needed in cases of severe or complicated disease. A macrolide antibiotic should be used if pertussis, mycoplasma or chlamydia pneumonia is suspected. Most hypoxic children can receive oxygen via nasal cannulae, but respiratory support should be individualised and extends to non-invasive and invasive ventilation in some cases. Children should be fed enterally; if this is not possible, administer intravenous isotonic fluids at <80% of maintenance, with monitoring of sodium levels. Empiric antibiotic treatment is the same in HIV-infected, HIV-exposed uninfected and HIV-uninfected children, although treatment for pneumocystis pneumonia and/or cytomegalovirus pneumonia should be considered in HIV-infected infants, especially in the absence of combination antiretroviral therapy.

Conclusions. Updated guidelines optimise the management of childhood pneumonia in the context of changing epidemiology, improvements in HIV prevention and new evidence on management.


Authors' affiliations

G Reubenson, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

T Avenant, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

D P Moore, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

G Itzikowitz, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

S Andronikou, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa; and Department of Pediatric Radiology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, PA, USA

C Cohen, Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Johannesburg, South Africa

R J Green, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

P Jeena, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, School of Clinical Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

R Masekela, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, School of Clinical Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

M P Nicol, Division of Medical Microbiology, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa; and Division of Infection and Immunity, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

A Pillay, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, School of Clinical Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

S A Madhi, South African Medical Research Council Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Analytics Unit, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg; and Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation: South African Research Chair in Vaccine Preventable Diseases, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

H J Zar, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town; and South African Medical Research Council Unit on Child and Adolescent Health, University of Cape Town, South Africa

A C Argent, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Keywords

Pneumonia; Treatment; Paediatrics

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2020;110(8):734-740. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2020.v110i8.15020

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-07-30
Date published: 2020-07-30

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