Lung abscesses are most often the result of a bacterial infection. This condition can last less than 6 weeks (acute) or last more than 6 weeks (chronic).
If handled properly, a lung abscess has a high chance of healing. Conversely, untreated lung abscesses can cause serious complications and be fatal.
Causes of Lung Abscess
Primary lung abscess
Apart from pulmonary aspiration, primary lung abscesses can also occur due to the following conditions:
- Pneumonia, especially aspiration pneumonia
- Blockage of the airways in the lungs, either due to tumors, foreign bodies, or enlarged glands in the lungs
- Bronchiectasis, namely widening, thickening, and damage to the airways (bronchi),
- Cystic fibrosis, which is a disease of the respiratory tract that causes mucus or phlegm in the respiratory tract to become thicker so that the airway from or to the lungs is blocked
Secondary lung abscess
- Entry of bacteria that cause infection in the mouth or upper respiratory tract into the lungs
- Blood flow, which comes from an infection in the heart,
Risk factors for lung abscess
- Experiencing alcohol addiction or drug abuse
- Are you under the influence of sedatives?
- Suffering from diabetes mellitus
- Suffering from severe tooth and gum disease
- Been in a coma for a long time.
- Suffering from congenital heart disease
- Have a weak immune system, for example due to cancer or HIV/AIDS
Lung Abscess Symptoms
Other symptoms that can appear due to a lung abscess are:
- Chest pain
- hard to breathe
- Weight loss
- Easily tired
- high fever, which is over 380 °C.
- Loss of appetite
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Excessive sweating, especially at night
When to see a doctor
Diagnosis of pulmonary abscess
- Sputum test to detect infection and find out the type of bacteria causing the infection
- Chest X-rays to see the condition of the inside of the lungs using X-rays
- Ultrasound (USG) of the lungs to check for the presence of a lung abscess through the use of ultrasound waves
- CT scan to get a clearer picture compared to X-rays so that lung abscesses are more easily detected.
- Bronchoscopy: to examine the inside of the lungs and take samples of lung tissue (biopsy) to be examined in the laboratory.
Lung Abscess Treatment
In patients with secondary lung abscesses, the doctor will recommend treatment at the hospital to help treat the disease that triggers the abscess.
The type of surgery that can be performed is the removal of the damaged part of the lung (lobectomy) or the removal of the entire damaged lung (pneumonectomy).
To help the healing process, patients will be asked to stop smoking and not consume alcoholic beverages. The patient will also be advised to drink more water.
Lung abscess complications
- Empyema, which is a condition when a collection of pus accumulates and spreads into the cavity of the lung lining,
- Bronchopleural fistula, which is a condition when there is an abnormal hole in the lung that can cause air from inside the lung to leak out,
- Pulmonary hemorrhage, which is a condition when an abscess damages the blood vessels in the lungs, causes bleeding that can be life-threatening.
- Death of lung tissue (pulmonary gangrene)
- Spread of infection to other organs of the body, such as the brain (brain abscess or meningitis).
Lung Abscess Prevention
- Avoid eating and drinking excessively quickly.
- Get used to eating and drinking slowly.
- Chew food well before swallowing it.
- Always eat and drink in a sitting position.
- Avoid lying down immediately after eating and drinking.
- Position the head higher than the body when eating or drinking, especially for people who can only lie down because of pain.
- Take drugs according to your doctor's recommendations, especially drugs that have drowsy side effects.
- Keep your teeth and mouth clean.
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