The national practice guideline for treating MRSA-related pneumonia is seven to 21 days. A Henry Ford Hospital study found that effective treatment can be done in half the time.
Researchers found that 40 percent of patients were treated for eight to 13 days on a therapy of the antibiotics vancomycin or linezolid, and had the highest survival rate.
The Henry Ford study is believed to be the first to evaluate the length of treatment for MRSA-related pneumonia.
The study is being presented Friday at the annual Infectious Diseases Society of America meeting in San Diego.
"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," says Hadeel Zainah, M.D., a second-year Infectious Diseases fellow at Henry Ford and the study's lead author.
MRSA-related pneumonia is a respiratory illness that typically follows a bout of the flu. Symptoms include a cough, sore throat, head ache, shortness of breath, fever and chills.
In the retrospective study, researchers evaluated the medical charts of 115 patients hospitalized with MRSA pneumonia. Patients received either vancomycin or linezolid, or both.
Of the 115 patients, 32 died after 28 days. Other findings:
27 percent of patients were treated for 14-20 days.
13.9 percent of patients were treated for more than 20 days.
These treatment durations had lower survival rates than the eight to 13 days.
Researchers did not evaluate whether the treatment duration affected length of stay or whether one antibiotic fared better than the other.
The study was funded by Henry Ford Hospital.