Pneumonia Complications

Complications

  • Atelectasis
    • (Collapsed, airless alveoli) of one or part of one lobe may occur. These areas may clear with effective deep breathing and coughing.
  • Pleurisy
    • Inflammation of the pleura
  • Pleural effusion
    • Fluid in the pleural space
  • Bacteremia
    • (Bacterial infection in the blood) is more likely to occur in infections with Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae
  • Pneumothorax
    • Can occur when air collects in the pleural space, causing the lungs to collapse
  • Meningitis
    • Can be caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae.
    • The patient with pneumonia who is disoriented, confused, or drowsy may have a lumbar puncture to evaluate the possibility of meningitis.
  • Acute respiratory failure
    • One of the leading causes of death in patients with severe pneumonia.
    • Failure occurs when pneumonia damages the lungs’ ability to facilitate the exchange of O2 and CO2 across the alveolar-capillary membrane.
  • Sepsis/septic shock
    • Can occur when bacteria within alveoli enter the bloodstream. Severe sepsis can lead to shock and multisystem organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS)
  • Lung abscess
    • Not a common complication of pneumonia.
    • It may occur with pneumonia caused by S. aureus and gram-negative organisms
  • Empyema
    • The accumulation of purulent exudate in the pleural cavity, occurs in less than 5% of cases and requires antibiotic therapy and drainage of the exudate by a chest tube or open surgical drainage