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Complications of Pneumonia

Complications of Pneumonia

Complications of pneumonia include:

  • Buildup of fluid in the space between the lung and chest wall (pleural effusionClick here to see an illustration.).
  • Pockets of pus that form in the space between the lung and chest wall (empyema) or in the lung itself (lung abscess).
  • Another bacterial lung infection after a viral infection (secondary infection).
  • Another bacterial infection, such as a vaginal infection or infections of the digestive system, because of antibiotic therapy (secondary infection).
  • Bacteria in the bloodstream (bacteremia) or throughout the body (septicemia).
  • Swelling of the covering of the spinal cordClick here to see an illustration. (meningitis) caused by spread of the infection.
  • Infection of a joint caused by the spread of bacteria through the bloodstream (septic arthritis).
  • Infection of the heart muscle or the sac surrounding the heart (endocarditis or pericarditis).


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerR. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology
Last RevisedMarch 17, 2011

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