Stroke-associated pneumonia: microbiological data and outcome

Document Type



Medicine; Neurology



Pneumonia is a common complication after acute stroke. It affects the outcome adversely. However, data regarding microbiology of stroke-associated pneumonia and its effect on outcome is scarce.


Stroke-associated pneumonia was identified through chart review of all ICD-9 identified adult stroke patients admitted to our hospital over a period of four years (1998-2001). The demographical, laboratory, radiological, microbiological data and outcome of patients with stroke-associated pneumonia were recorded and analysed.


443 patients with stroke were admitted over the four-year period and 102 (23 percent) had stroke-associated pneumonia. Their ages range from 28 to 100 (mean 64+/-14) years. 69 (68 percent) were men. Median length of stay was nine days compared to four days for all stroke patients. 68 (67 percent) patients manifested pneumonia within 48 hours and 34 (33 percent) after 48 hours of admission. Yield of tracheal aspirate cultures was 38 percent and that of chest radiographs was 25 percent. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus were the most common organisms (12 percent each) followed by Streptococcus pneumoniae and Klebsiella pneumoniae (4 percent each). Patients with infiltrates on chest radiographs were more likely to have positive tracheal aspirate cultures (p-value is 0.003). 35 patients (34 percent) expired during hospital stay. Positive chest radiographs and tracheal aspirates were independent predictors of prolonged hospital stay (p-value is less than 0.005).


Pneumonia is a common medical complication of stroke. It is associated with a high mortality and prolongs the hospital stay. The yield of chest radiographs and tracheal aspirates is low. However, these are independent predictors of prolonged hospital stay. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus are most common organisms in stroke-associated pneumonia.


Singapore Medical Journal