What Are the Complications of Pneumonia?

Read Transcript

There are several complications of pneumonia, especially if it was left untreated. Pneumonia can progress, the infection can spread throughout all the lung fields and that can make it difficult for someone to breath. If it gets severe enough, someone will end up in the hospital, and may need assistance with their breathing, either from oxygen therapy or in extreme cases need to be put on a ventilator to assist their breathing.

In addition, a pneumonia that's left untreated or is inadequately treated can spread outside the lungs to the area called the pleura. The pleura is the membrane that surrounds the lungs, and allows it to move a long the chest wall without any friction. If the pleura space gets infected, antibiotics do not penetrate there very well and what can happen is, patients can develop a large fluid collection there which is termed in effusion.

Effusions would need to be drained by a physical or even have a chest tube placed to clear out the infection.