Association between Substance Misuse and Outcomes in Critically III Patients with Pneumonia

Rationale: In patients with pneumonia requiring intensive care unit (ICU) admission, alcohol misuse is associated with increased mortality, but the relationship between other commonly misused substances and mortality is unknown. Objectives: We sought to establish whether alcohol misuse, cannabis misuse, opioid misuse, stimulant misuse, or misuse of more than one of these substances was associated with differences in mortality among ICU patients with pneumonia. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of hospitals participating in the Premier Healthcare Database between 2010 and 2017. Patients were included if they had a primary or secondary diagnosis of pneumonia and received antibiotics or antivirals within 1 day of admission. Substance misuse related to alcohol, cannabis, stimulants, and opioids, or more than one substance, were identified from the International Classification of Diseases (Ninth and Tenth Editions). The associations between substance misuse and in-hospital mortality were the primary outcomes of interest. Secondary outcomes included the measured associations between substance misuse disorders and mechanical ventilation, as well as vasopressor and continuous paralytic administration. Analyses were conducted with multivariable mixed-effects logistic regression modeling adjusting for age, comorbidities, and hospital characteristics. Results: A total of 167,095 ICU patients met inclusion criteria for pneumonia. Misuse of alcohol was present in 5.0%, cannabis misuse in 0.6%, opioid misuse in 1.5%, stimulant misuse in 0.6%, and misuse of more than one substance in 1.2%. No evidence of substance misuse was found in 91.1% of patients. In unadjusted analyses, alcohol misuse was associated with increased in-hospital mortality (odds ratio [OR], 1.12; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.06-1.19), whereas opioid misuse was associated with decreased in-hospital mortality (OR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.39-0.53) compared with no substance misuse. These findings persisted in adjusted analyses. Although cannabis, stimulant, and more than one substance misuse (a majority of which were alcohol in combination with another substance) were associated with lower odds for in-hospital mortality in unadjusted analyses, these relationships were not consistently present after adjustment. Conclusions: In this study of ICU patients hospitalized with severe pneumonia, substance misuse subtypes were associated with different effects on mortality. Although administrative data can provide epidemiologic insight regarding substance misuse and pneumonia outcomes, biases inherent to these data should be considered when interpreting results.


alcoholism/complications; alcoholism/mortality; marijuana abuse; opioid analgesics; pneumonia/etiology.

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