Diagnosis and management of community-acquired pneumonia in children: South African Thoracic Society guidelines

H J Zar, D P Moore, S Andronikou, A C Argent, T Avenant, C Cohen, R J Green, G Itzikowitz, P Jeena, R Masekela, M P Nicol, A Pillay, G Reubenson, S A Madhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Pneumonia remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality amongst South African children. More comprehensive immunisation regimens, strengthening of HIV programmes, improvement in socioeconomic conditions and new preventive strategies have impacted on the epidemiology of pneumonia. Furthermore, sensitive diagnostic tests and better sampling methods in young children improve aetiological diagnosis.

Objectives: To produce revised guidelines for pneumonia in South African children under 5 years of age.

Methods: The Paediatric Assembly of the South African Thoracic Society and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases established seven expert subgroups to revise existing South African guidelines focusing on: (i) epidemiology; (ii) aetiology; (iii) diagnosis; (iv) antibiotic management and supportive therapy; (v) management in intensive care; (vi) prevention; and (vii) considerations in HIV-infected or HIVexposed, uninfected (HEU) children. Each subgroup reviewed the published evidence in their area; in the absence of evidence, expert opinion was accepted. Evidence was graded using the British Thoracic Society (BTS) grading system. Sections were synthesized into an overall guideline which underwent peer review and revision.

Recommendations: Recommendations include a diagnostic approach, investigations, management and preventive strategies. Specific recommendations for HIV infected and HEU children are provided.

Validation: The guideline is based on available published evidence supplemented by the consensus opinion of SA paediatric experts. Recommendations are consistent with those in published international guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-116
Number of pages22
Journal African Journal of Thoracic and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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