What is the pathophysiology of bacterial pneumonia?

Updated: Sep 30, 2020
  • Author: Justina Gamache, MD; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Answer

Bacteria from the upper airways or, less commonly, from hematogenous spread, find their way to the lung parenchyma. Once there, a combination of factors (including virulence of the infecting organism, status of the local defenses, and overall health of the patient) may lead to bacterial pneumonia. The patient may be made more susceptible to infection because of an overall impairment of the immune response (eg, human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] infection, chronic disease, advanced age) and/or dysfunction of defense mechanisms (eg, smoking, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], tumors, inhaled toxins, aspiration). Poor dentition or chronic periodontitis is another predisposing factor.


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