Bronchopneumonia is an infectious disease in which the airways and lungs are affected, unlike pneumonia, which is limited to the lung and is usually more localized.
It can be caused by different types of microorganisms. Its severity is variable depending on factors such as the causative agent and the prior health status of the affected person.
This condition is characterized by the presence of symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, cough and expectation of secretions of purulent characteristics. It is possible that there is also decay and weakness. These manifestations do not make it possible to differentiate pneumonia from bronchopneumonia, so it is necessary to perform imaging studies such as chest X-rays to differentiate them.
Causes of bronchopneumonia
This disorder is due to the colonization of the lower respiratory tract by various germs. In most cases they correspond to viruses and bacteria, however it is also possible that this infection is caused by some fungi.
Each type of microorganism is associated with a characteristic lesion pattern in chest radiographic studies. Bacteria such as haemophilus and staphylococcus produce dense areas of consolidation full of secretions that are typical of pneumonia, other bacteria such as staphylococcus produce diffuse lesions and fluid leakage in the pleural space, while mycoplasma, viruses and some fungi produce a generalized diffuse involvement more typical of bronchopneumonia.
Bronchopneumonia is more common when there is a condition that constitutes a risk factor, these include:
· Presence of debilitating chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, heart disease and alcoholism.
· History of respiratory diseases that compromise air flow, such as asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).
· Diseases that restrict lung expandability, such as pulmonary fibrosis and pneumoconioses.
· Airway obstruction by tumors, enlarged nodes, or foreign bodies.
· Presence of areas of pulmonary infarction.
· States of immunosuppression (use of drugs to prevent transplant rejection, human immunodeficiency virus infection, as well as the use of drugs to treat autoimmune diseases or cancer).
· Neurological diseases that affect swallowing by facilitating the aspiration of food into the trachea.
· Cancer patients.
· Adults over 65 years of age.
· Tracheostomy patients.
· Long hospital stay.
· Bedridden patients.
Treatment of bronchopneumonia
This disease deserves treatment, since generally the bronchial condition leads to a greater compromise of ventilation due to the obstruction of the bronchi due to secretions and bronchial inflammation that can cause complications that can become serious.
In general, the patient with bronchopneumonia merits admission to a hospital. This guarantees that it remains at rest and is closely monitored by the health team staff in order to monitor the evolution, as well as detect and treat complications that may arise in a timely manner.
Treatment usually includes:
· Oxygen supply by mask or mustache, depending on the oxygen and carbon dioxide concentrations in the blood.
· Nebulization with bronchodilator medications.
· Intravenous antibiotic therapy that will depend on the results obtained in sputum or bronchial aspirate cultures, as well as blood cultures when these are taken, since each microorganism has a different treatment scheme.
· Management of respiratory secretions (may require chest percussion and aspiration of secretions).
· Hydration, since many times fever and decay that leads to loss of appetite can lead to the development of a state of dehydration.
In the case of developing symptoms such as respiratory failure, it may be necessary to carry out mechanical ventilation for which management in an intensive care unit.
Prevention of bronchopneumonia
Bronchopneumonia is a condition that can be prevented. To do this, it is necessary to adopt some measures, including:
· Avoid exposure to people with respiratory infections, especially in the case of patients with a weakened immune system.
· Adequate control of basic respiratory diseases such as bronchial asthma and COPD.
· Stop smoking cigarettes and avoid secondhand smoke.
· Carry out a respiratory physiotherapy program in the case of having some underlying lung disease.
· Vaccines against pneumococcus and haemophilus in children, in people who have undergone surgery to remove their spleen, and in older adults over 65 years of age.
· Application of the flu vaccine (against the influenza virus) annually.
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