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[Definition of low respiratory tract infections].

Authors
  • Housset, B
Type
Published Article
Journal
Médecine et Maladies Infectieuses
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2006
Volume
36
Issue
11-12
Pages
538–545
Identifiers
PMID: 16837158
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Lower respiratory tract infection is easily suggested on clinical signs (cough and sputum) associated with fever. To discriminate between pneumonia and acute bronchitis is crucial because of the mortality associated with pneumonia and of its specific management. Chest X-ray is a key exam for the diagnosis and should be performed on the basis of validated clinical signs that are however of weak diagnostic value. Clinical as well as radiological signs cannot be reliably used to identify the causative germ. Sputum examination, the search for pneumococcal and legionella urinary antigens are of good diagnostic value. An associated COPD may lead to an acute respiratory failure. Acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis results from various causes but infection is involved in about 50% of the cases, mostly viral and most often due to a rhinovirus. Viral infection can be associated to bacterial infection and the most frequently isolated germs are Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and B. catarrhalis. Severity assessment relies on the value of basal FEV1 that is often non available. Therefore Afssaps suggests using a dyspnea index to assess exacerbation severity.

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