Cavitating pneumonia

Cavitating pneumonia is a complication that can occur with a severe necrotising pneumonia and in some publications it is used synonymously with the latter term 2.  It is a rare complication in both children and adults.

Cavitation associated Mycobacterium tuberculosis is separately discussed in the pulmonary tuberculosis article.

Cavitation can occur from a variety of organisms.  

Paediatric population

Albeit rare, cavitation is most commonly caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae which other less frequently being Aspergillus spp., Legionella spp. and Staphylococcus aureus 4.

In children cavitation associated with severe illness although cases usually resolve without surgical intervention, and long-term follow-up radiography shows clear lungs without pulmonary sequelae 1,6.

Adult population

Although the absolute cavitary rate may not be known,  according to one series, necrotising changes were seen in up to 6.6% of of adults with pneumococcal pneumonia 7. Kleibsiella pneumoniae is also another organism that is known to cause cavitation 8.

Plain radiograph

May show a subtle area of radiolucency superimposed on a region of consolidation.

Late sequelae
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Article information

rID: 23992
System: Chest
Section: Gamuts
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Cavitatory pneumonia
  • Pneumonia with cavitation
  • Cavitating pneumonias
  • Cavitating bacterial pneumonia

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