What are the symptoms of bacterial aspiration pneumonia?

Updated: Aug 15, 2018
  • Author: Justina Gamache, MD; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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The presentation of bacterial aspiration pneumonia is similar to that of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) and may include nonspecific symptoms including headache, nausea/vomiting, anorexia, and weight loss. The onset of illness may be subacute or insidious, with the symptoms manifesting in days to weeks when anaerobic organisms are the pathogens. The patient may also describe the following:

  • Cough with purulent sputum

  • Fever or chills

  • Malaise, myalgias

  • Rigors may be present or absent

  • Shortness of breath, dyspnea on exertion

  • Pleuritic chest pain

  • Putrid expectoration (a clue to anaerobic bacterial pneumonia)

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