Pulmonology Book


Pneumonia in Children

Aka: Pneumonia in Children, Pediatric Pneumonia, Community Acquired Pneumonia in Children
  1. See Also
    1. Pneumonia
    2. Pneumonia Management in Children
    3. Respiratory Distress in Children with Pneumonia
    4. Pediatric Early Warning Score (PEWS Score)
  2. Epidemiology
    1. Incidence
      1. Worldwide: 155 million cases annually (and 2 million deaths under age 5 years)
      2. Pneumonia is the most common cause of hospitalization in children
    2. Immunization (esp. Prevnar, Hib Vaccine) has dramatically cut the number of childhood Pneumonia hospitalizations
      1. Pneumococcal Pneumonia hospitalization cases dropped by half after PrevnarVaccine introduced
      2. Olarte (2017) Clin Infect Dis 64(12): 1699-1704 [PubMed]
  3. Causes
    1. See Pneumonia Causes in Children
    2. Viral Pneumonia accounts for 80% of cases in under age 2 year old children
    3. Hospitalized Children
      1. Viral Pneumonia (66%)
        1. Respiratory Syncytial Virus (esp. under age 4 years)
        2. Human Rhinovirus
        3. Adenovirus (esp. age <2 years)
        4. Human Metapneumovirus (esp. age <10 years)
        5. Coronaviruses (includes Covid19)
        6. Influenza Virus
        7. Parainfluenza Virus
      2. Bacterial Pneumonia (8%)
        1. Atypical Pneumonia (>3%)
          1. Mycoplasma pneumonia (esp. age >4 years old)
          2. Chlamydia pneumoniae (infants)
        2. Streptococcus Pneumoniae
        3. Staphylococcus aureus
        4. Streptococcus Pyogenes
  4. History
    1. Age suggests cause and management
    2. Immunizations deficient
      1. Streptococcus Pneumoniae
      2. HaemophilusInfluenzae
      3. Pertussis
    3. Recent hospitalizations
      1. Nosocomial Pneumonia
    4. Day care attendance
      1. Viral Pneumonia
    5. Contagious contacts
      1. Viral Pneumonia
      2. Mycoplasma pneumonia
      3. Tuberculosis
    6. Travel
      1. Influenza
      2. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Asia)
      3. Fungal Infection
        1. Blastomycosis
        2. Coccidioidomycosis (Southwestern U.S.)
        3. Histoplasmosis (Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys)
    7. Recent antibiotics
      1. Consider Antibiotic Resistance (e.g. PRP)
    8. Comorbid conditions
      1. Cardiopulmonary disease (e.g. Cystic Fibrosis)
      2. Immunodeficiency (e.g. Asplenic)
      3. Neuromuscular Disease
    9. Possible Ingestion
      1. Foreign Body Aspiration
      2. Toxin Ingestion
  5. Risk Factors
    1. Young age
    2. Male gender
    3. Tobacco exposure
    4. Pollution exposure
    5. Child care attendance
    6. Malnutrition
    7. Immunodeficiency
    8. Anatomical airway anomalies
    9. Underlying metabolic disorders
  6. Precautions
    1. Occult Pneumonia should be considered in the following cases
      1. Fever for more than 5 days (especially if over 39 C)
      2. Leukocytosis with White Blood Cell Count over 20,000
      3. Abdominal Pain
        1. Presenting complaint in 8.5% of patients, age 3 to 14 years old (esp age <5 years)
        2. Vomiting or Diarrhea is present in 27% of cases
        3. Broder (2022) Crit Dec Emerg Med 36(1):11-2
  7. Symptoms
    1. Fever
    2. Respiratory symptoms (see signs below)
      1. Cough
      2. Tachpnea
      3. Dyspnea
    3. Lethargy
    4. Irritability
    5. Decreased oral intake
    6. Dehydration (e.g. decreased Urine Output)
    7. Vomiting
    8. Diarrhea
    9. Abdominal Pain
  8. Signs
    1. Pneumonia unlikely without fever and Tachypnea
      1. Consider Chlamydia trachomatisPneumonia in under age 3 weeks if affebrile with Staccato Cough
      2. Consider Mycoplasma pneumonia in older children with malaise, Sore Throat, fever and indolent course
    2. Findings highly suggestive of Pneumonia
      1. Fever
        1. More commonly >101.3 F in Bacterial Pneumonia
      2. Cyanosis
      3. Respiratory distress (one or more of the following)
        1. Respiratory Distress in Children with Pneumonia
        2. Tachypnea
          1. Absence of tachpnea when fever is present has strong Negative Predictive Value
          2. Tachypnea is common with fever and therefore has poor Positive Predictive Value
        3. Cough
        4. Nasal flaring
        5. Intercostal retractions
        6. Grunting
        7. Rales
        8. Decreased breath sounds
  9. Differential Diagnosis
    1. See Pneumonia
    2. Head and neck disorders
      1. Otitis Media
      2. Rhinorrhea
      3. Nasal Polyps
      4. Pharyngitis
      5. Upper Respiratory Infection
    3. Respiratory conditions
      1. Asthma
      2. Bronchiolitis
      3. Bronchitis
  10. Labs: Efficacy
    1. Tests that are helpful
      1. Rapid viral Antigens
        1. Influenza Immunoassay
        2. Covid19 PCR
        3. RSV Test
          1. Not indicated in classic presentations (obtain if unclear diagnosis)
      2. Oxygen Saturation (if respiratory distress)
    2. Tests helpful in severe cases (low yield if moderate infection)
      1. Gram Stain
      2. Blood Culture
    3. Tests possibly useful in retrospect (identify outbreak)
      1. Mycoplasma pneumoniae titer
      2. Chlamydia pneumoniae titer
    4. Tests which are usually not helpful for diagnosis (but may be used for trending in the inpatient setting)
      1. Complete Blood Count (CBC)
      2. C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
      3. Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)
  11. Labs: Inpatient
    1. Rapid viral Antigens
      1. Influenza test
      2. RSV test
      3. Covid19 PCR
      4. Respiratory Panel (consider)
    2. Sputum Culture and Gram Stain
      1. Difficult to obtain in children
      2. Low yield
    3. Blood Culture and Gram Stain
      1. Identifies pathogen in 2 to 7% of hospitalized cases
    4. Complete Blood Count
    5. C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
    6. Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)
    7. Procalcitonin
      1. Procalcitonin <0.25 ng/ml suggests non-Bacterial Pneumonia (may reduce antibiotic use)
      2. Tsou (2020) Infect Dis 52(10): 683-97 [PubMed]
      3. Stockmann (2018) J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc 7(1): 46-53 [PubMed]
  12. Imaging: Chest XRay
    1. Indications
      1. Inpatient
      2. Unclear diagnosis
      3. Prolonged Pneumonia or not responding to antibiotics after 48 to 72 hours of treatment
      4. Pneumonia complications
      5. Hypoxia
    2. Findings
      1. Lobar consolidation
        1. More common in Bacterial Pneumonia
        2. May be seen in viral pneumona
      2. Interstitial Infiltrates
        1. More common in Viral Pneumonia
        2. May be seen in Bacterial Pneumonia
    3. Precautions
      1. Chest XRay is not needed to confirm Pneumonia in the outpatient setting
        1. History and exam may be sufficient to make a Pneumonia diagnosis
      2. Chest XRay does not differentiate virus from Bacteria
        1. Significant overlap of xray findings in cases of Pneumonia, Bronchiolitis, Asthma Exacerbation
      3. Chest XRay may be normal in early Pneumonia
      4. Chest XRay may be abnormal for 3-6 weeks after diagnosis
  13. Imaging: Other
    1. Lung Ultrasound (POCUS)
      1. Detects lung consolidation, Parapneumonic Effusion, empyema
      2. Sufficient to diagnose Pneumonia with good Test Sensitivity
      3. Jones (2016) Chest 150(1): 131-8 [PubMed]
  14. Management
    1. See Pneumonia Management in Children
  15. Disposition
    1. See Pneumonia Management in Children
  16. Complications: Parapneumonic Effusion
    1. See Pneumonia for other complications
    2. Indications for drainage
      1. Symptomatic
      2. Pleural Effusions >10 mm on lateral XRay
      3. Pleural Effusion >1/4 of hemithorax
  17. Prevention: Immunization
    1. Primary Series
      1. Rubeola (MMR Vaccine)
      2. Varicella Zoster Virus
      3. Pertussis (DTP Vaccine)
      4. HaemophilusInfluenzae Vaccine (Hib)
      5. Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (Prevnar)
    2. Booster and periodic Vaccinations
      1. Influenza Vaccine yearly
      2. Pertussis (DTaP Vaccine)
    3. High risk infants
      1. Palivizumab (Synagis)
    4. Pregnancy
      1. Diphtheria and PertussisVaccine (Tdap Vaccine)
        1. Given at 27 to 36 weeks in each pregnancy
        2. Allows for passive Immunity for newborns
        3. (2017) Obstet Gynecol 130(3): e153-7 [PubMed]
  18. References
    1. Bradley (2011) Clin Infect Dis 53(7): e1-52 [PubMed]
    2. McIntosh (2002) N Engl J Med 346:429-37 [PubMed]
    3. Nelson (2000) Pediatr Infect Dis 19:251-3 [PubMed]
    4. Ostapchuk (2004) Am Fam Physician 70(5):899-908 [PubMed]
    5. Smith (2021) Am Fam Physician 104(6): 618-25 [PubMed]
    6. Stuckey-Schrock (2012) Am Fam Physician 86(7): 661-7 [PubMed]

Pneumonia (C0032285)

Definition (MSH) Inflammation of any part, segment or lobe, of the lung parenchyma.
Definition (MEDLINEPLUS)

Pneumonia is an infection in one or both of the lungs. Many germs, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, can cause pneumonia. You can also get pneumonia by inhaling a liquid or chemical. People most at risk are older than 65 or younger than 2 years of age, or already have health problems.

Symptoms of pneumonia vary from mild to severe. See your doctor promptly if you

  • Have a high fever
  • Have shaking chills
  • Have a cough with phlegm that doesn't improve or gets worse
  • Develop shortness of breath with normal daily activities
  • Have chest pain when you breathe or cough
  • Feel suddenly worse after a cold or the flu

Your doctor will use your medical history, a physical exam, and lab tests to diagnose pneumonia. Treatment depends on what kind you have. If bacteria are the cause, antibiotics should help. If you have viral pneumonia, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medicine to treat it.

Preventing pneumonia is always better than treating it. Vaccines are available to prevent pneumococcal pneumonia and the flu. Other preventive measures include washing your hands frequently and not smoking.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Definition (NCI_NCI-GLOSS) A severe inflammation of the lungs in which the alveoli (tiny air sacs) are filled with fluid. This may cause a decrease in the amount of oxygen that blood can absorb from air breathed into the lung. Pneumonia is usually caused by infection but may also be caused by radiation therapy, allergy, or irritation of lung tissue by inhaled substances. It may involve part or all of the lungs.
Definition (NCI) An acute, acute and chronic, or chronic inflammation focally or diffusely affecting the lung parenchyma, due to infections (viruses, fungi, mycoplasma, or bacteria), treatment (e.g. radiation), or exposure (inhalation) to chemicals. Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, fevers, chills, chest pain, headache, sweating, and weakness.
Definition (CSP) inflammation of the lungs with consolidation and exudation.
Concepts Disease or Syndrome (T047)
MSH D011014
ICD10 J18.9
SnomedCT 274103002, 155552002, 155558003, 266391003, 155548002, 60363000, 205237003, 233604007
LNC LP21407-9, MTHU020831, LA7465-3
English Pneumonitis, Pneumonia, Pneumonias, Pneumonia, unspecified, Pneumonitides, Pneumonia NOS, pneumonia (diagnosis), pneumonia, Pneumonitis NOS, Pneumonia [Disease/Finding], Pneumoniae, inflammation lungs, unspecified pneumonia, pneum, pulmonary inflammation, lung inflammation, Inflammation, Lung, Inflammation, Pulmonary, Inflammations, Lung, Inflammations, Pulmonary, Lung Inflammation, Lung Inflammations, Pulmonary Inflammation, Pulmonary Inflammations, Pneumonia NOS (disorder), Pulmonary inflammation, Lung inflamed, Pulmonitis, PNEUMONIA, Pneumonia (disorder), Pneumonia, NOS, Pneumonia (disorder) [Ambiguous], pneumonitis
French PNEUMONIE, Congestion pulmonaire SAI, Pneumonite, Pneumonie SAI, Pneumopathie infectieuse, Pneumonie
Portuguese PNEUMONIA, Pneumonite NE, Pulmonite, Pneumonia NE, Pulmonia, Pneumonia, Inflamação do Pulmão, Inflamação Pulmonar, Pneumonite
Spanish NEUMONIA, Neumonitis NEOM, Neumonía NEOM, neumonia, SAI (trastorno), Pneumonia NOS, neumonia, SAI, Pneumonía, Pulmonía, neumonía (concepto no activo), neumonía (trastorno), neumonía, Neumonitis, Inflamación del Pulmón, Inflamación Pulmonar, Neumonía
German PNEUMONIE, Pneumonie NNB, Pulmonitis, Pneumonitis NNB, Pneumonie, nicht naeher bezeichnet, Lungenentzuendung, Pneumonie, Pneumonitis, Lungenentzündung
Italian Infezione polmonare, Polmonite aspecifica, Infezione dei polmoni, Infezione polmonare aspecifica, Pneumonite, Infiammazione del polmone, Infiammazione polmonare, Polmonite
Dutch pneumonie NAO, pneumonitis NAO, pulmonitis, Pneumonie, niet gespecificeerd, pneumonie, Pneumonie, Longontsteking, Pneumonitis
Japanese 肺炎NOS, 肺臓炎, 肺臓炎NOS, ハイエンNOS, ハイエン, ハイゾウエンNOS, ハイゾウエン, 肺炎
Swedish Lunginflammation
Czech pneumonie, Pneumonie, Pulmonitida, Pneumonie NOS, Pneumonitida NOS, zápal plic, zánět plic
Finnish Keuhkokuume
Korean 상세불명의 폐렴
Polish Zapalenie płuc
Hungarian pneumonia, Pneumonitis k.m.n., pneumonia k.m.n., Pulmonitis
Norwegian Pneumoni, Lungebetennelse
Derived from the NIH UMLS (Unified Medical Language System)

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