OBJECTIVES

To describe testing and treatment practices for Mycoplasma pneumoniae (Mp) among children hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP).

METHODS

We conducted a retrospective cohort study using the Pediatric Health Information Systems database. We included children 3 months to 18 years old hospitalized with CAP between 2012 and 2018 and excluded children who were transferred from another hospital and those with complex chronic conditions. We examined the proportion of patients receiving Mp testing and macrolide therapy at the hospital level and trends in Mp testing and macrolide prescription over time. At the patient level, we examined differences in demographics, illness severity (eg, blood gas, chest tube placement), and outcomes (eg, ICU admission, length of stay, readmission) among patients with and without Mp testing.

RESULTS

Among 103 977 children hospitalized with CAP, 17.3% underwent Mp testing and 31.1% received macrolides. We found no correlation between Mp testing and macrolide treatment at the hospital level (R2 = 0.05; P = .11). Patients tested for Mp were more likely to have blood gas analysis (15.8% vs 12.8%; P < .1), chest tube placement (1.4% vs 0.8%; P < .1), and ICU admission (3.1% vs 1.4%; P < .1). Mp testing increased (from 15.8% to 18.6%; P < .001), and macrolide prescription decreased (from 40.9% to 20.6%; P < .001) between 2012 and 2018.

CONCLUSIONS

Nearly one-third of hospitalized children with CAP received macrolide antibiotics, although macrolide prescription decreased over time. Clinicians were more likely to perform Mp testing in children with severe illness, and Mp testing and macrolide treatment were not correlated at the hospital level.

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