Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Pneumococcal bacteraemia: 325 episodes diagnosed at St Thomas's Hospital.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985; 290 doi: (Published 16 February 1985) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985;290:505
  1. W R Gransden,
  2. S J Eykyn,
  3. I Phillips


    Three hundred and twenty five episodes of pneumococcal bacteraemia occurred at St Thomas's Hospital during 1970-84, accounting for 13.3% of all episodes of bacteraemia. Twice as many cases occurred in male as in female patients, and common predisposing factors included chronic chest disease, alcoholism, haematological malignancies, cirrhosis, and sickle cell anaemia. Mortality was 28.6% overall but only 11.8% among patients who received antibiotic treatment for at least 24 hours. Most patients (261) had pneumonia, 26 had meningitis, and eight were children with occult bacteraemia. The commonest serotype of pneumococcus in adults was type 3 (39 episodes), and these strains were associated with a high mortality. Other factors determining a fatal outcome included underlying disease (such as cirrhosis, malignancy, and chronic chest disease) and extrapulmonary infection. Almost half the survivors were treated for 10 days or less and became afebrile within 48 hours.