Acute pneumonia and the cardiovascular system
Although traditionally regarded as a disease confined to the lungs, acute pneumonia has important effects on the cardiovascular system at all severities of infection. Pneumonia tends to affect individuals who are also at high cardiovascular risk. Results of recent studies show that about a quarter of adults admitted to hospital with pneumonia develop a major acute cardiac complication during their hospital stay, which is associated with a 60% increase in short-term mortality. These findings suggest that outcomes of patients with pneumonia can be improved by prevention of the development and progression of associated cardiac complications. Before this hypothesis can be tested, however, an adequate mechanistic understanding of the cardiovascular changes that occur during pneumonia, and their role in the trigger of various cardiac complications, is needed. In this Review, we summarise knowledge about the burden of cardiac complications in adults with acute pneumonia, the cardiovascular response to this infection, the potential effects of commonly used cardiovascular and anti-infective drugs on these associations, and possible directions for future research.