Bronchopneumonia: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Bronchopneumonia or lobular pneumonia is a type of pneumonia that causes inflammation in the bronchi.

These are the air passages that feed air to the lungs. A person with bronchopneumonia may have trouble breathing because their airways are contracted. Because of the inflammation, your lungs may not get enough air. The symptoms of bronchopneumonia can be mild or severe.


Bacteria cause many cases of bronchopneumonia. The bacteria are contagious and can spread among very close people through sneezing and coughing. A person becomes infected by breathing the bacteria.

Common bacterial causes of bronchopneumonia include:

  • Staphylococcus aureus.
  • Haemophilus influenza.
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
  • Escherichia coli.
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae.

The condition is commonly contracted in a hospital setting. People who come to the hospital to treat other diseases often have a compromised immune system.

Being sick affects how the body fights bacteria typically. Under these conditions, the body will have difficulty attacking a new infection. Pneumonia in a hospital setting can also result from bacteria resistance to antibiotics.


The symptoms of bronchopneumonia can be very similar to other types of pneumonia. This condition often starts with flu-like symptoms that can become more severe in a few days. Symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough with phlegm
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Chest pain.
  • Fast breathing.
  • Perspiration.
  • Cold.
  • Headaches.
  • Muscle pains.
  • Pleurisy, or chest pain that results from inflammation due to excessive coughing.
  • Fatigue, confusion, or delirium, especially in older adults.

The symptoms can be especially severe in people with weakened immune systems or other diseases.


Symptoms in children

Children and babies can show symptoms differently. While cough is the most common symptom in babies, they may also have:

  • A fast heart rate.
  • Low levels of oxygen in the blood.
  • Retractions of the chest muscles.
  • Irritability.
  • Decreased interest in feeding, eating or drinking.
  • Fever.
  • Congestion.
  • Difficulty in sleeping.

Consult a doctor immediately if you have symptoms of pneumonia. It is impossible to know what type of pneumonia you have without a thorough examination by your doctor.

Risk factor’s

  •  People 65 years of age or older and children two years old and younger are at greater risk of developing bronchopneumonia and complications related to the condition.
  • People who work in hospitals or asylum facilities or often visit them have a higher risk of developing bronchopneumonia.
  • Smoking, poor nutrition, and a history of heavy drinking can increase your risk of bronchopneumonia.
  • Chronic lung disease, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • VIH / SIDE.
  • I have a weakened immune system due to chemotherapy or immunosuppressive drugs.
  • Chronic disease, such as heart disease or diabetes.
  • Autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
  • Cancer.
  • Chronic cough.

If you are in one of the risk groups, talk with your doctor about prevention and management tips.


Your doctor will start by doing a physical exam and asking about your symptoms.

They will use a stethoscope to hear wheezing and other abnormal breath sounds. They will also look for places in your chest where it is harder to listen to your breathing.

Sometimes, if your lungs are infected or full of fluid, your doctor may notice that your breath sounds are not as loud as expected.


Treatment options for bronchopneumonia include home treatments and prescription medical treatments.

Home care:  Viral bronchopneumonia usually does not require medical treatment unless it is serious. It usually improves on its own in two weeks. Bacterial or fungal causes of bronchopneumonia may require medication.

Medical treatment:  Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics if a bacteria is the cause of your pneumonia. Most people feel better within three to five days after starting antibiotics.

You must complete the entire cycle of antibiotics to prevent the infection from coming back and make sure it disappears completely.

In cases of a viral infection such as influenza, your doctor may prescribe antivirals to help reduce the duration of your illness and the severity of your symptoms.

Hospital care: You  may need to go to the hospital if your infection is severe and you meet any of the following symptoms or conditions:

  • You are over 65 years old.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Chest pain.
  • Fast breathing.
  • You have low blood pressure.
  • You show signs of confusion.
  • It would help if you had respiratory assistance.
  • You have a chronic lung disease.

Treatment in the hospital may include antibiotics and intravenous fluids. If your blood oxygen levels are low, you may receive oxygen therapy to help them return to normal.

Treatment in babies and children

Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics if your child has a bacterial infection. Home care to relieve symptoms is also essential in managing this condition.

Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids and rests. Your doctor may suggest Tylenol to reduce fever. An inhaler or nebulizer may be prescribed to help keep the airway as open as possible.

In severe cases, a child may require hospitalization to receive intravenous fluids, medications, oxygen, and respiratory therapy.

Always ask your child’s doctor before taking cough medicine. They are rarely recommended for children under six years of age. Get more information about hygiene habits for children.


Complications of bronchopneumonia can occur according to the cause of the infection. Common complications may include:

  • Diseases of the bloodstream or sepsis.
  • Lung abscess
  • Accumulation of fluid around the lungs is known as pleural effusion.
  • Respiratory insufficiency.
  • Renal insufficiency.
  • Heart failure, heart attacks, and irregular rhythms.


Simple care measures can reduce your risk of getting sick and developing bronchopneumonia. Look for information about the proper way to wash your hands.

Vaccines can also help prevent certain types of pneumonia. Be sure to get vaccinated annually, as the flu can cause pneumonia.

The common types of bacterial pneumonia can be prevented with pneumococcal vaccines. These are available for adults and children. Talk with your doctor to determine if these vaccines could benefit you or your family. Read more about vaccine programs for infants and young children.


Most people who have bronchopneumonia recover within a few weeks. How long it takes to recover depends on several factors:

  • Age.
  • The severity of pneumonia.
  • The type of organism that causes the infection.
  • Your general health and any underlying condition.
  • Any complication you may have experienced.

You are not letting your body can result in a more extended recovery period. People at increased risk for this condition can develop severe, life-threatening complications, such as respiratory failure without treatment.

Consult a doctor if you think you may have some pneumonia. They can make sure they have the correct diagnosis and receive the best treatment for their condition.