What morbidities are associated with bacterial pneumonia?

Updated: Sep 30, 2020
  • Author: Justina Gamache, MD; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Morbidity may include destruction of lung tissue from infection with subsequent scarring. Affected areas may be incapable of gas exchange, reducing respiratory reserve. In a patient with pre-existing respiratory disease, the onset of bacterial pneumonia may result in a downward spiral of infections, further impairment of respiratory status, and repeated infections owing to reduced local and systemic immune responses. Bronchiectasis may be a sequela of bacterial pneumonia. Infections with Staphylococcus and Klebsiella organisms may result in subsequent bronchiectasis, especially if treatment is delayed.

Destroyed alveoli and small-to-medium airways may be replaced by dilated blind saccules filled with purulent material. Ongoing, chronic inflammation usually occurs in the surrounding area and may destroy local adjacent lung tissue over time. Empyema and lung abscess may occur as direct complications of bacterial pneumonia. Pneumonia has been associated with increased incidence of placental abruption in pregnant patients.

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