Pneumonia Facts (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- Pneumonia facts
- What is pneumonia?
- What are the different types of pneumonia?
- What causes pneumonia? Is pneumonia contagious?
- What are risk factors for pneumonia?
- What are pneumonia symptoms and signs?
- How do doctors diagnose pneumonia?
- What is the treatment for pneumonia?
- What are complications of pneumonia?
- What is the prognosis of pneumonia?
- Is it possible to prevent pneumonia? Is there a pneumonia vaccine?
- Pneumonia FAQs
- Find a local Internist in your town
What is the treatment for pneumonia?
Antibiotic medications are the treatment of choice for pneumonia caused by bacterial and fungal infections. The exact choice of medications depends on many factors, including the following:
- The organism responsible for the infection
- The likelihood that the organism is resistant to certain antibiotics
- The patient's underlying health condition
About 80% of cases of CAP can be managed at home with the patient taking oral antibiotics. There are numerous treatment regimens available. Initial treatment (before the causative organism has been identified) is called empiric treatment and is based upon the organisms most likely to be responsible for the illness. Once the exact organism has been identified in the laboratory and susceptibility testing performed to determine which antibiotics are effective, the treatment regimen can be further individualized. In around 20% of cases, CAP must be managed in the hospital, typically with intravenous antibiotics initially. HAP is managed in the hospital, typically with intravenous antibiotics.
Antibiotics are not effective against viral pneumonia. Depending upon the type of virus that causes pneumonia, antiviral medications can provide benefit when started early in the course of the disease. For example, the medications oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) are used to treat influenza virus infections. Antifungal agents are used to treat most fungal pneumonias.
What are complications of pneumonia?
There are a number of potential complications of pneumonia. The infection that causes pneumonia can spread to the bloodstream, causing sepsis. Sepsis is a serious condition that can result in lowering of blood pressure and failure of oxygen to reach the tissues of the body. Another complication is the accumulation of fluid in the space between the lung tissue and the chest wall lining, known as a pleural effusion. The organisms responsible for the pneumonia may infect the fluid in a pleural effusion, known as an empyema. Pneumonia can also result in the formation of an abscess (collection of pus) within the lungs or airways.
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