The lungs are generally divided into several lobes, such as the superior lobes, inferior lobes, and middle lobe. One of the most common conditions that often affects the lobes of one or both lungs is pneumonia. When the base or the lower segment of the inferior lobe is involved, it is usually called basilar pneumonia or basal pneumonia.
The cause of basilar pneumonia is frequently bacterial infection, specifically from Streptococcus pneumoniae, Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Patients may also develop this condition as a result of aspiration while sitting upright. Aspiration is the inhalation of stomach content or microorganisms from the throat into the lungs.
Risk factors that may predispose individuals to develop pneumonia include alcoholism, diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Those with recent viral infection are also at higher risk. In most cases, their immune systems become weak and incapable of fighting off the infectious agent.
Patients with pneumonia usually experience cough, fever, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Abdominal pain and fever may also be seen in some children with basilar pneumonia. A few children with these symptoms have sometimes been mistakenly suspected of having acute appendicitis.
Physicians who specialize in the treatment of respiratory problems are called pulmonologists. They often base their diagnoses on a patient's symptoms, medical history, physical examination, and results of diagnostics tests. An X-ray is often necessary as it can show the affected areas of the lungs. In basilar pneumonia, there is usually an opacity seen in the lower segment of the affected lung.
A complete blood count (CBC) is also often done to check the number of white blood cells (WBCs) in the circulation. An increase in WBCs is usually a sign of an infection in the body. Analysis of the sputum may also be performed in order to distinguish the type of bacteria that's causing the infection, and to determine which medicines will work well against them.
Treating basilar pneumonia often involves the use of antibiotics, which are effective in killing most types of bacteria. Examples of these antibiotics are penicillin, ampicillin-clavulanate, erythromycin, and cefuroxime. Some patients with milder symptoms are usually sent home after having been prescribed with medications. Patients with severe basilar pneumonia, however, are often advised to stay in the hospital for treatment.