Background: Persons with Down syndrome (DS) experience an increased risk of pneumonia. We determined the incidence and outcomes of pneumonia and relationship to underlying comorbidities in persons with and without DS in the United States.
Methods: This retrospective matched cohort study used de-identified administrative claims data from Optum. Persons with DS were matched 1:4 to persons without DS on age, sex, and race/ethnicity. Pneumonia episodes were analyzed for incidence, rate ratios and 95 % confidence intervals, clinical outcomes, and comorbidities.
Results: During 1-year follow-up among 33796 persons with and 135184 without DS, the incidence of all-cause pneumonia (pneumonia) was substantially higher among people with DS than those without DS (12427 vs. 2531 episodes/100000 person-years; 4.7-5.7 fold increase). Persons with DS and pneumonia were more likely to be hospitalized (39.4 % vs. 13.9 %) or admitted to the ICU (16.8 % vs. 4.8 %). Mortality was higher 1 year after first pneumonia (5.7 % vs. 2.4 %; P < 0.0001). Results were similar for episodes of pneumococcal pneumonia. Specific comorbidities were associated with pneumonia, particularly heart disease in children and neurologic disease in adults, which only partially mediated the effect of DS on pneumonia.
Conclusions: Among persons with DS, incidence of pneumonia and associated hospitalizations were increased; mortality among those with pneumonia was comparable at 30 days, but higher at 1 year. DS should be considered an independent risk condition for pneumonia.
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