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Pneumonia in immunocompromised host
Alternative namesPneumonia in immunodeficient patient
DefinitionPneumonia in an immunocompromised host describes a lung infection that occurs in a person whose infection-fighting mechanisms are significantly impaired.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
People who are immunocompromised have a defective immune response . Because of this, they are susceptible to infections by microorganisms that are present everywhere, but do not normally cause disease in healthy people. They are also more susceptible to the usual causes of pneumonia , which can affect anyone.
Immunosuppression can be caused by HIV infection , leukemia, organ transplantation, bone marrow transplant, and medications to treat cancer .
Signs and tests
Crackles or other abnormal breath sounds may be heard when listening to the chest with stethoscope ( auscultation ). Lack of breath sounds can be an important sign.
The goal of treatment is to eliminate the infection with antimicrobial therapy (antibiotics or antifungal agents, usually). The specific agent used will depend on the sensitivity of the organism causing the problem as determined by a culture or special stains.
Respiratory treatments to remove secretions and oxygen therapy are often indicated.
The outcome may be poor if the pneumonia is caused by a virus or fungus, or if the patient is severely immunosuppressed.
Calling your health care providerCall your health care provider if you are immunosuppressed and symptoms of pneumonia develop.
Limit exposure of immunocompromised people to others who are ill.
Update Date: 1/16/2004Daniel Levy, M.D., Ph.D., Infectious Diseases, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT