Guidelines
Lung Abscess

Lung Abscess

Cause

Infection of lungs with pus forming organisms: e.g.

Background

Localised inflammation and necrosis (destruction) of lung tissue leading to pus formation. It is most commonly caused by aspiration of oral secretions by patients who have impaired consciousness

  • Onset is acute or gradual
  • Malaise, loss of appetite, sweating with chills and fever
  • Cough with purulent sputum, foul-smelling breath (halitosis)
  • Chest pain indicates pleurisy
  • Finger clubbing

  • Pus in the pleural cavity (empyema)
  • Coughing out blood (haemoptysis)
  • Septic emboli to various parts of the body, e.g. brain (causing brain abscess)
  • Bronchiectasis (pus in the bronchi)

  • Bronchogenic carcinoma
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Primary empyema communicating with a bronchus
  • TB of the lungs
  • Liver abscess communicating into the lung

  • Chest X-ray
    • Early stages: Signs of consolidation
    • Later stages: A cavity with a fluid level
  • Sputum: For microscopy and culture and sensitivity