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A Pneumonia Diagnosis Can Have a Major Impact on Health

Pneumonia is an infection in which the air sacs of one or both lungs fill with pus and other fluids. It’s caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi and can have a major impact on a person’s health and well-being. It can take days - even weeks - to recover from pneumonia, depending on the severity.

For any lung issue, but especially those that can develop quickly into life-threatening infections, it is important to seek care from a pulmonologist that is specially trained in pulmonary infections. We have an entire team of highly trained and experienced pulmonary specialists at University Hospitals.

Expert Pneumonia Care for Geriatric Patients

Pneumonia can affect geriatric patients more significantly and can quickly develop into a life-threatening risk. As a result, the geriatric specialists at University Hospitals collaborate with pulmonary specialists whenever an older patient’s lung health is at risk. There are a number of reasons why pneumonia puts older patients more at risk:

  • The immune system declines with age, making it harder to fight infections.
  • Lung function decreases with age, and senior adults aspirate more often.
  • Older adults may have other medical problems such as arthritis or heart disease. The presence of additional conditions makes it more difficult to recover from pneumonia.

That’s why our specialized teams at University Hospitals work together to create pneumonia treatment plans that minimize each patient’s lung discomfort and reduce pneumonia symptoms as they recover.

Accurate Pneumonia Diagnosis

Identifying the cause of pneumonia is essential because it directly affects the treatment plan. University Hospitals pulmonary specialists rely on a wide variety of tests to accurately diagnose the type of pneumonia, including:

  • Blood tests
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Chest computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Chest x-rays
  • Pleural fluid culture
  • Pulse oximetry
  • Sputum tests

Treatment for Pneumonia

Infection at UH For most types of pneumonia, our lung doctors often recommend a standard protocol of rest, fluids, antibiotics and medicines to control fever. However, as a system of care, University Hospitals has the full resources available for any more advanced infection. Our team may admit a patient with a severe case or if more advanced care is required. For example, if a patient has other serious medical problems, is elderly or a young child, they may need more advanced treatment, including intravenous (IV) fluids, oxygen therapy or breathing treatments. For any type of pneumonia, even the most complex, our pulmonary specialists can help.

Specialized Care for Legionnaires’ Disease

If our team suspects Legionnaires’ Disease, a severe pneumonia caused by inhaling Legionella bacteria, they will order a urine test as well. Smokers, senior adults and individuals with compromised immune systems are more susceptible to Legionnaires’ Disease.

It’s important to diagnose and begin Legionnaires’ Disease treatment as soon as possible to shorten recovery time and help prevent serious complications. The disease is treated with potent antibiotics.