New clinical statements address pneumonia in people with learning disability

  • Date: 08 March 2023

HIGH morbidity and mortality in aspiration and community acquired pneumonia among patients with learning disability and autism has prompted publication of two new guidance statements from the British Thoracic Society (BTS).

The BTS says the two clinical statements cross-reference each other in order to help reduce the "knowledge gap" in this important area and provide practical guidance for clinicians and patients alike.

Aspiration pneumonia (AP) is inflammation and infection of the lungs caused by food or liquid being breathed into the lungs and differs from community acquired pneumonia (CAP), which is largely caused by breathing in pathogens such as bacteria or viruses. Community acquired pneumonia is a major cause of death and a significant contributor to the increased risk of hospital admission observed in people with learning disability.

BTS Chair Paul Walker said:“Some of the most important learning from Covid-19 concerned the management of pneumonia in people with disability, including learning disability. We hope these clinical statements will lead to improvement in care both in people with learning disability and a wider group of people with pneumonia.”


This page was correct at the time of publication. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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