A little bit detailed:

What is it?

The air sacs in the lungs are filled with pus and other liquid which causes a lack of oxygen in the body. Because of this (and eventually spreading infection) may cause death. Until 1936, pneumonia was regarded the No.1 cause of death: in 1998, the infectious disease is ranked as sixth in the leading causes of death


Causes:

  • Bacteria:
    Pneumonia bacteria are present in every 'healthy person', but can 'attack' if the body has been weakened by serious illness, old age, wrong food on a daily basis or alcohol. Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia.
  • Viral:
    Probably half of the pneumonia variants are caused by viri, esp. in children.
    Most of these variants are shortlasting, though.
  • Mycoplasma:
    Mycoplasmas are the smallest living agents of disease unclassified being viri or bacteria.
    Generally they cause light forms of pneumonia.
  • Other:
    Other less known variants can be caused by fungi, gases, food or dust. Foreign 'bodies' in your body (like tumors) may be 'promoting' pneumonia too.

Pneumonia is infection of the lungs. Specifically, it is infection of lung parenchymal tissue.

All sorts of microorganisms can cause pneumonia from various bacteria to viruses to fungi. Doctors classify pneumonias into community acquired pneumonia (both from typical and atypical organisms), nosocomial pneumonia, immune compromised pneumonia, chronic pneumonia and aspiration pneumonia.

The most common cause of community acquired pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as Pneumococcus.

The treatment is antibiotics and supportive management.

Pneumonia can be severe, even fatal. They are often found in dying patients - whether or not they were the reason why they originally presented to hospital ...

I'm currently recovering from an atypical pneumonia caused by your friend and mine, the lowly mycoplasma, so I figured I'd take the opportunity to add what I've learned from my doctor.

Unlike bacterial pneumonia, which shows up in a chest x-ray as an opaque blob, usually affecting an entire lobe of one lung, mycoplasma pneumonia is characterized by the appearance of a network of threads in the chest x-ray. In my case, they spread throughout most of my right lung, but I'm told the infection is generally confined to one lobe. (I started getting sick around the start of midterms and waited it out for two and a half weeks before seeing a doctor. Not the best move - go see a doctor after a week of coughing, especially if it wakes you up at night.) Since I'm young and in good physical condition, the infection posed no serious threat, but it's not really any sort of joke either.

Symptoms include a persistent cough, often accompanied by a fever and/or headache; swelling of lymph nodes and inflammation of the eardrums may also occur. Patients often wake up at night as a result of either fever or cough. If you cough up mucus and see flecks or threads of bright red blood, that's a sign of pneumonia. As with any persistent infection, your immune system will be working overtime, and you will feel tired and lethargic no matter how much you sleep. I had difficulty concentrating, and I'm told that's not uncommon.

Treatment is simple, and generally consists of a course of antibiotic therapy - in my case it was Zithromax (azithromycin), which is nice because it's only one pill a day, and you only have to take it for five days. What's not nice about azithromycin is that it gave me the shits something fierce, but that's not supposed to be terribly common. Unfortunately, while the therapy only lasts five days, the aftereffects of the infection persist much longer. I will be coughing for about a month after going off antibiotics, and I won't be back to full lung capacity for about 6 weeks - that's how long it takes to clear all the crap out of your lungs. You can speed recovery by taking a few very deep breaths every 10 minutes - this gets air into all the lung spaces and apparently promotes blood flow and healing of the tissue. Or, you can recover faster by not waiting two and a half weeks to see a doctor. That would be my vote. One week, ladies and gentlemen, and if you're still coughing, go get it taken care of ASAP.

I had a rather serious case of bacterial pneumonia.

Initially I only had chest pains when breathing. Then I developed a persistent dry cough and fever, so I was examined by a doctor who prescribed oral antibiotics (roxithromycin), pain medication (ibuprofen) and a cough syrup (dextromethorphan and salbutamol). At this time, my CRP (the C-reactive protein test measures the level of inflammation) was 42 mg/l. (It is less than 6 in healthy people.) The examination included an ultrasound scan of my heart and a thorax X-ray.

I took the antibiotics for a week and then went to the hospital for a checkup. The CRP value had risen to 309, indicating a serious infection, and the X-ray showed that the pleural space around my left lung was filled with fluid. I was immediately admitted to the hospital and put on intravenous antibiotics (clindamycin and levofloxacin).
A tube thoracostomy was performed, which means I had a tube put through my chest into the pleural cavity, sucking out nasty-looking pus. A CT scan the next day showed an empyema cavity of 12 by 12 centimeters. (The radioactive dye used was injected to my vein, but I could still taste the metallic taste of radioactivity.) I was given tramadol for the pain, but I got nasty surrealist imagery on that, so it was changed to codeine and paracetamol.

For a while, I was getting better. A week after admission my CRP was 53 and the thorax X-ray looked better. I was given streptokinase, an agent that dissolves the pus in the pleural space, through the pleural tube. The next day, however, the tube came off by itself. Two days without the pleural tube led to fever and a rise in CRP to 194, so a new tube was placed. More streptokinase was issued as well. A CT scan three days after the new tube thoracostomy showed an empyema cavity of 12 by 7 centimeters. CRP was 79 mg/ml.

Two days passed, and pus was still accumulating through the tube, so they decided to perform a thoracotomy and decortication. I was given intravenous fentanyl (China White) and midazolam (sedative), which made me feel totally weird and I passed out. They cut open my chest, destroying some nerves in the process (there's an area of some 10 by 10 centimeters in my chest with no feeling) and scraped away the infectious mass. Some of that stuff was taken to a tuberculosis test, just to make sure. Also, because of the suspicious complications I had, an HIV test was performed. (Both negative.) This time, they left two tubes in me.

I was given a continuous infusion of fentanyl for the post-operative pain as well as some oxycodone injections. (That stuff is delightful!) I slowly got better, although I had a serious fever about a week after the thoracotomy. (It was Sept. 11, 2002, and I was delusional with fever, thinking I might be the last living member of Al-Qaeda.) The tubes were taken away, and finally I could walk around. (I'd spent some three weeks lying down.) Finally, after more than a month in the hospital, I was discharged, healthy but with diminished lung capacity.

Pneu*mo"ni*a (?), n. [NL., fr. Gr. , fr. , pl. the lungs, also, , which is perh. the original form. Cf. Pneumatio, Pulmonary.] Med.

Inflammation of the lungs.

Catarrhal pneumonia, ∨ Broncho-pneumonia, is inflammation of the lung tissue, associated with catarrh and with marked evidences of inflammation of bronchial membranes, often chronic; -- also called lobular pneumonia, from its affecting single lobules at a time. -- Croupous pneumonia, or ordinary pneumonia, is an acute affection characterized by sudden onset with a chill, high fever, rapid course, and sudden decline; -- also called lobar pneumonia, from its affecting a whole lobe of the lung at once. See under Croupous. -- Fibroid pneumonia is an inflammation of the interstitial connective tissue lying between the lobules of the lungs, and is very slow in its course, producing shrinking and atrophy of the lungs.

 

© Webster 1913.

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