Hospital Acquired Bacterial Pneumonia

Hospital Acquired Bacterial Pneumonia

Hospital acquired bacterial pneumonia is a serious and dangerous form of pneumonia that primarily affects patients who are already in the hospital for other medical issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that hospital-acquired infections such as this could lead to up to 100,000 deaths each year in the United States.

Bacterial pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs caused by microorganisms. Common microorganisms that can cause hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia include:

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Klebsiella
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Enterobacter
  • Haemophilus influenzae
  • Enterococcus

Hospital-acquired pneumonia typically develops in hospitalized patients who are already weakened and debilitated due to their pre-existing condition. This form of pneumonia may also occur when medical equipment, such as intubation and ventilators, are used. Ventilators, in particular, run a heightened risk of infection due to the high-levels of bacteria present on and within the mechanical device.

The symptoms of hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia are similar to those of regular community acquired bacterial pneumonia. Common symptoms may include:

  • Painful coughing with thick yellow or green mucus
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Muscle ache
  • Upset stomach (nausea/vomiting)

If left untreated, hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia can lead to serious complications such as lung abscesses, sepsis and respiratory failure. Treatment for this infection typically involves antibiotics and other medications to assist with the symptoms. In the most severe cases, supportive care may also be necessary, such as oxygen therapy, mechanical ventilation and intravenous fluids.

In order to help reduce the risk of hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia, strict prevention protocols and handwashing techniques should be followed. Additionally, all healthcare providers should be aware of the signs and symptoms of this serious infection, and should consider the diagnosis in all critically ill hospitalized patients.