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What is Lobar Pneumonia?

Lobar pneumonia is a severe lung infection affecting one or more lobes of the lungs, characterized by inflammation and alveolar filling that can be seen on chest X-rays. Symptoms often include coughing, fever, and difficulty breathing. Understanding its causes, treatment, and prevention is crucial for respiratory health. Curious about how this condition unfolds in the body? Let's take a closer look.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Lobar pneumonia is a form of infection of the lung that involves a contiguous inflammation across one of the lobes of the lung. It usually onsets very suddenly and can have serious complications if it is not treated, including permanent damage to the structures in the lung, leading to a lifetime of breathing problems. Treatment involves the administration of aggressive antibiotics to kill the causative organisms, along with supportive care while the antibiotics have time to work and throughout the patient's recovery.

People commonly develop lobar pneumonia after an episode of cold or flu, when bacterial organisms have a chance to get into the airways. They travel into the lungs and take advantage of the patient's weakened immune system to colonize one of the lobes, causing inflammation. It can spread quickly, filling the tiny air sacs in the lungs with fluid and making it hard to breathe. The patient develops congestion and may cough and experience a fever.

It is common for patients to experience difficulty breathing while recovering from lobar pneumonia.
It is common for patients to experience difficulty breathing while recovering from lobar pneumonia.

If X-rays of the chest are taken, an obstructed area in the involved lobe can be seen. This allows a doctor to determine the extent of the infection. A culture can be taken of the material in the lung to see what kind of bacteria is responsible so antibiotic therapy can be tailored to the infection. The doctor may recommend broad spectrum antibiotics before the culture results come back in the interests of treating the infection as quickly as possible and preventing it from spreading to the rest of the lung.

A chest X-ray can be used to diagnose pneumonia in patients.
A chest X-ray can be used to diagnose pneumonia in patients.

Hospitalization may be required for lobar pneumonia in some cases. Some patients develop congestion so severe that they have difficulty breathing and require supportive care such as mechanical ventilation and intravenous antibiotics delivered in a hospital setting. Complications can be a concern with patients who have a prior history of respiratory disorders and patients with compromised immune systems who are less able to fight aggressive infections.

Chest congestion often accompanies lobar pneumonia.
Chest congestion often accompanies lobar pneumonia.

After a patient has recovered from lobar pneumonia, it is common to experience some difficulty breathing during recovery. Sometimes a respiratory therapist can help patients with a regimen designed to help them recover elasticity and strength in their lungs. Doctors may also prescribe medications to open the airways and reduce inflammation while the patient recovers from the pneumonia. It is important to be alert to early signs of recurrence so appropriate action can be taken to treat returning lobar pneumonia infections before they have an opportunity to compromise the patient's lungs.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

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    • It is common for patients to experience difficulty breathing while recovering from lobar pneumonia.
      By: vbaleha
      It is common for patients to experience difficulty breathing while recovering from lobar pneumonia.
    • A chest X-ray can be used to diagnose pneumonia in patients.
      By: creo77
      A chest X-ray can be used to diagnose pneumonia in patients.
    • Chest congestion often accompanies lobar pneumonia.
      By: Aleksandar Todorovic
      Chest congestion often accompanies lobar pneumonia.
    • Children experiencing inflamed nasal and throat passages may be more susceptible to developing a secondary condition, such as pneumonia.
      By: julaszka
      Children experiencing inflamed nasal and throat passages may be more susceptible to developing a secondary condition, such as pneumonia.
    • The presence of pneumonia may cause fever in infants.
      By: fred goldstein
      The presence of pneumonia may cause fever in infants.