Document Type


Date of Original Version



Pharmacy Practice


Background: The treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) pneumonia is exceedingly complicated, which is concerning because of the high mortality rate associated with the infection. Identification of independent predictors of clinical success can optimize patient care by assisting clinicians in treatment decisions.

Objectives: We sought to identify independent predictors of clinical success in a national Veterans Affairs (VA) cohort of MRSA pneumonia patients.

Methods: A nested case-control study was conducted among a cohort of VA patients with MRSA pneumonia receiving linezolid or vancomycin between January 2002 and September 2010. Cases included those demonstrating clinical success, defined as discharge from the hospital or intensive care unit (ICU) by day 14 after treatment initiation, in the absence of death, therapy change, or intubation by day 14. Controls represented non-success, defined as therapy change, intubation, ICU admission, re-admission, or death between treatment initiation and day 14. The potential predictors assessed included treatment, patient demographics and admission characteristics, previous healthcare and medication exposures, comorbidities, and medical history. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated from logistic regression.

Results: Our study included 2442 cases of clinical success and 1290 controls. Demographics varied between the clinical success and non-success groups, including age, race, and region of facility. A current diagnosis of chronic respiratory disease (46% vs 42%) and diagnosis of pneumonia in the year prior to the MRSA pneumonia admission (37% vs 32%) were both more common in the clinical success group. Despite these significant differences, only two predictors of clinical success were identified in our study: previous complication of an implant or graft, including mechanical complications and infections, in the year prior to the MRSA pneumonia admission (OR, 1.55; 95% CI, 1.17–2.06) and treatment with linezolid (1.53; 1.12–2.10). Predictors of non-success included concomitant urinary tract infection diagnosis (OR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.70–0.96), intravenous line (0.76; 0.66–0.89), previous coagulopathy (0.74; 0.56–0.96), previous amputation procedure (0.72; 0.53–0.98), current coagulopathy diagnosis (0.71; 0.53–0.96), dialysis (0.54; 0.38–0.76), multiple inpatient procedures (0.53; 0.45–0.62), inpatient surgery (0.48; 0.41–0.57), and previous endocarditis (0.24; 0.07–0.81).

Discussion: MRSA pneumonia tends to affect complex patients, and identification of the predictors of clinical success is useful when considering different therapeutic approaches.

Conclusions: In a national cohort of VA patients with MRSA pneumonia, treatment was the only modifiable variable predicting clinical success.