Back

Pneumonia—Adult

(Community-acquired Pneumonia; CAP; Bronchopneumonia)

Definition

Pneumonia is an infection that affects the small airways and air sacs in the lungs.
Development of Pneumonia in the Air Sacs of the Lungs
pneumonia lung fluid
Normal gas exchange is interrupted by fluid build up.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Pneumonia is sometimes described by where and how you were infected. Types of pneumonia include:

Causes

Pneumonia may be caused by:
Aspiration
lung aspiration food
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

Pneumonia is more common in older adults. Other factors that may increase your chance of pneumonia include:

Symptoms

Pneumonia may cause:

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor may suspect pneumonia based on your symptoms, and breath and lung sounds. Tests can confirm diagnosis and determine the specific germ causing the pneumonia.
Your bodily fluids may be tested with:
Pulse oximetry measures blood oxygen levels.
Images may be taken of your lungs. This can be done with:

Treatment

Treatment of pneumonia depends on:
People with severe pneumonia may need to be hospitalized.

Medications

Your doctor may advise:
  • Antibiotics—for pneumonia caused by bacteria
  • Antifungal medications—for pneumonia caused by fungi
  • Antiviral medications—for pneumonia caused viruses, such as influenza
  • Over-the-counter medications to reduce fever and discomfort
  • Vitamin C may be advised if you don't get enough in your diet
  • Oxygen therapy may be needed in more severe cases

Prevention

Certain vaccines may prevent pneumonia:
Other preventive measures include:

RESOURCES

American Lung Association http://www.lung.org

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://www.familydoctor.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

The College of Family Physicians of Canada http://www.cfpc.ca

The Lung Association http://www.lung.ca

References

2015 Immunization schedules. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/index.html. Updated January 26, 2105. Accessed February 18, 2015.

Blasi F, Aliberti S, Pappalettera M, Tarsia P. 100 years of respiratory medicine: pneumonia. Respir Med. 2007;101(5):875-881.

Braunwald E, Harrison TR, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill; 2008.

Carpenter CC, Andreoli TE, et al. Cecil Essentials of Medicine. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Science; 2003.

Community-acquired pneumonia in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 5, 2014. Accessed February 18, 2014.

De Roux A, Marcos MA, Garcia E, et al. Viral community-acquired pneumonia in non-immunocompromised adults. Chest. 2004;125(4):1343-1351.

Explore pneumonia. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pnu. Updated March 1, 2011. Accessed February 18, 2015.

Niederman MS. Recent advances in community-acquired pneumonia inpatient and outpatient. Chest. 2007;131(4):1205-1215.

Niederman MS. Review of treatment guidelines for community-acquired pneumonia. Am J Med. 2004;117:Suppl 3A:51S-57S.

10/21/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Hemilä H, Louhiala P. Vitamin C for preventing and treating pneumonia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;8:CD005532.

3/10/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Su VY, Liu CJ, Wang HK, et al. Sleep apnea and risk of pneumonia: A nationwide population-based study. CMAJ. 2014;186(6):415-421.

6/17/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Reissig A, Copetti R, Mathis G, et al. Lung ultrasound in the diagnosis and follow-up of community-acquired pneumonia: A prospective, multicenter diagnostic accuracy study. Chest. 2012;142(4):965-972.

2/3/2015 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Rantala A, Jaakkola JJ, Jaakkola MS. Respiratory infections in adults with atopic disease and IgE antibodies to common aeroallergens. PLoS One. 2013;8(7):e68582.

Revision Information