McKnight’s reported on a recent study showing that 12% of people hospitalized for community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) to be inappropriately diagnosed with the condition — especially people who are older, have dementia or experience an altered mental state.

The study published in JAMA Internal Medicine evaluated the inappropriate diagnosis of CAP in 17,290 people hospitalized from 48 hospitals in Michigan. The people were treated for pneumonia, and received antibiotics on their first or second day in the hospital.

“While some inappropriate diagnosis of CAP is unavoidable due to diagnostic uncertainty when patients are first hospitalized, many patients remain inappropriately diagnosed even on hospital discharge,” the authors wrote.

The authors said that the risks of inaccurate diagnosis vary between populations. The vulnerable groups most likely to be inappropriately diagnosed are the same that are likely to be affected by antibiotic-associated adverse events. That’s why balancing the harms of underdiagnosis and overdiagnosis of CAP is so critical.