Which physical findings are characteristic of viral pneumonia?

Updated: Mar 24, 2021
  • Author: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: John J Oppenheimer, MD  more...
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The physical examination findings in viral pneumonia are similar to those of pyogenic pneumonia and are, therefore, nonspecific. Physical examination demonstrates wheezing, crackles, increased fremitus, and bronchial breath sounds over the involved regions of the lungs.

Some patients have few, if any, physical findings other than mild fever, whereas other patients may have respiratory and/or multiorgan failure. Other findings include the following:

  • Fever and/or chills

  • Cough (with or without sputum production)

  • Tachypnea and/or dyspnea

  • Tachycardia or bradycardia

  • Wheezing

  • Rhonchi

  • Rales

  • Sternal or intercostal retractions

  • Dullness to percussion

  • Decreased breath sounds

  • Pleurisy

  • Pleuarl friction rub

  • Cyanosis

  • Rash

  • Acute respiratory distress

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