Lung Abscess

A lung abscess is a pus-filled cavity surrounded by inflamed tissue in your lung. It is typically caused by breathing bacteria that normally live in your mouth or throat into your lungs, resulting in an infection.


Symptoms of a lung abscess typically appear gradually over several weeks. They may include the following:

  • Pain in the chest, especially when breathing in
  • Wheezing
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Night sweats
  • Sputum
  • Weight loss


A lung abscess can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Being unable to cough: This is frequently the result of:
  • Anesthesia is a type of anesthesia
  • Use of alcoholic beverages or drugs
  • Diseases of the nervous system
  • Sedation is a type of sedation
  • Poor oral health: People who suffer from gum disease are more likely to develop an abscess.

Your immune system is underperforming. This can allow germs that aren't normally found in your mouth or throat, such as fungi or bacteria that cause tuberculosis, strep throat, and MRSA, to enter.
Mucus can form behind a tumor or foreign object in your windpipe, resulting in an abscess. If bacteria enter your mucus, the blockage prevents you from coughing it up.
Blood-borne causes: Although it is uncommon, bacteria or infected blood clots from an infected part of your body can travel through your bloodstream and into your lung, causing an abscess.

The diagnosis

There are two ways to diagnose a lung abscess:

  • A chest X-Ray will show your doctor the location of the abscess.
  • A CT- Scan of your chest will look for an air- and fluid-filled cavity in the middle of your lung.

The doctor may also use a bronchoscope, which is a thin tube with a light and a camera on the end, to collect samples of sputum or lung tissue for further testing if:

  • Antibiotics aren't making a difference
  • They believe your airways are clogged
  • Your immune system has been compromised

  • Treatment

    Antibiotics: Most people receive antibiotics through a vein for 3-8 weeks. Following that, you may need to switch to oral antibiotics. You'll take them until a chest X-ray reveals that the abscess has healed.
    Drainage may be required if your abscess is 6 centimeters or larger in diameter. A CT scan will be used to guide your doctor as he inserts the drain through your chest wall into the abscess.
    Surgery: Although it is uncommon, some people require surgery to remove the abscessed portion of the lung. To get rid of the infection, the entire lung may have to be removed. Surgery can also aid in the removal of a foreign object.


    • Chronic abscess: This is what it is called if it lasts longer than 6 weeks.
    • Empyema occurs when an abscess enters the space between your lungs and chest wall and fills it with pus
    • Bleeding: Although it is uncommon, an abscess can destroy a blood vessel and cause severe bleeding.
    • Bronchopleural fistula: A gap between the tubes in your lungs and the layers that cover them.


    Most people will recover completely thanks to antibiotics. And the sooner you receive treatment, the better. It may be more difficult to recover if you are weak, ill, have a weakened immune system, or have a tumor that blocks your airways.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. What is the most common cause of a lung abscess?

    Aspiration of oral secretions by patients with impaired consciousness is the most common cause of lung abscesses; thus, anaerobic bacteria are among the most common pathogens.

    2. What are the symptoms of a lung abscess?

    Bacteria that normally live in the mouth and are inhaled into the lungs cause a lung abscess. Fatigue, loss of appetite, night sweats, fever, weight loss, and a cough that produces sputum are all symptoms. A chest x-ray is usually used to make the diagnosis.

    3. How do you treat a lung abscess?

    Antibiotics are the primary treatment for a lung abscess. Long-term medication use may be required for up to six months. Changes in lifestyle, such as quitting smoking and drinking more fluids, may also be recommended. More invasive procedures or surgery may be required in some cases.

    4. Is lung abscess curable?

    Surgical procedure: Although it is uncommon, some people require surgery to remove the abscessed portion of the lung. To get rid of the infection, the entire lung may have to be removed. Surgery can also aid in the removal of a foreign object.

    5. What are the complications of lung abscess?

    • Empyema is caused by a rupture into the pleural space
    • Pleural fibrosis is a type of fibrosis that occurs in the lining
    • Lung entrapment
    • Failure of the respiratory system
    • Bronchopleural fistula is a type of bronchopleural fistula
    • A pleural cutaneous fist

    6. Do you drain lung abscess?

    The lung abscess manifests rapidly as a pneumonitis with pleural involvement. Percutaneous drainage is frequently required as an emergency procedure for these patients.

    7. How do you prevent a lung abscess?

    To reduce the risk of a lung abscess, it is critical to avoid aspiration. Early intubation should be considered in patients who have a reduced ability to protect the airway from massive aspiration (cough, gag reflexes). The risk of aspiration is reduced by positioning the supine patient at a 30° reclined angle.