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Community Acquired Pneumonia

  • Synopsis: Published: 2008-12-26 (Revised/Updated 2013-10-21) - Community acquired pneumonia can often be a debilitating condition because of its side effects and multiple symptoms. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Katie Kelley at ketek.legalview.com.

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Quote: "It is common, according to the CDC, for CAP to be accompanied with other conditions as well, such as influenza."

The United States healthcare system spends approximately $8.4 billion each year on a condition that affects millions of people with an annual 5.6 million cases reported each year. The condition is known as community acquired pneumonia (CAP) according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a disease in which individuals who have not recently been hospitalized develop an infection of the lungs (pneumonia). CAP is a common illness and can affect people of all ages. CAP often causes problems like breathing, fever, chest pains, and a cough. CAP occurs because the areas of the lung which absorb oxygen (alveoli) from the atmosphere become filled with fluid and cannot work effectively.

Patients with community-acquired pneumonia often present with cough, fever, chills, fatigue, dyspnea, rigors, and pleuritic chest pain.

The United States healthcare system spends approximately $8.4 billion each year on a condition that affects millions of people with an annual 5.6 million cases reported each year. The condition is known as community acquired pneumonia (CAP) according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

According to both the AAFP and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CAP is "a lower respiratory tract infection in a non-hospitalized person that is associated with symptoms of acute infection."

X-rays of the chest, examination of the blood and sputum for infectious microorganisms, and blood tests are commonly used to diagnose individuals with suspected CAP based upon symptoms and physical examination. The use of each test depends on the severity of illness, local practices, and the concern for any complications resulting from the infection.

CAP Side Effects

Community acquired pneumonia can often be a debilitating condition because of its jarring side effects as well as the array of multiple symptoms that are not easily treated. The AAFP listed characterizations often associate with CAP including:

  • A fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • cough, either with or without sputum
  • pleuritic chest pain
  • chest tightness
  • night sweats
  • myalgia
  • wheezing
  • gastrointestinal symptoms
  • bronchial breath sounds
  • dullness to percussion
  • atypical symptoms in older patients
  • headache
  • dyspnea

It is common, according to the CDC, for CAP to be accompanied with other conditions as well, such as influenza. Unfortunately, because of the commonplace of the two conditions occurring simultaneously, it becomes more difficult to decipher the epidemiology of CAP alone.

Individuals who feel they may suffer from CAP and influenza should likely contact a medical professional to learn more about treating the condition with medication and antibiotics, which can decrease the length of their condition as well as assist in avoiding a worsened condition.

Prescription Antibiotic Dangers

CAP is treated by administering an antibiotic which is effective in killing the offending microorganism as well as managing any complications of the infection. If the causative microorganism is unidentified, different antibiotics are tested in the laboratory in order to identify which medication will be most effective.

There have been several antibiotics that are used to treat upper respiratory infections, which have also been linked to unintended side effects among patients that have caused more harm than good. For example, Ketek (telithromycin), from Sanofi-Aventis, is a prescription antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections located in the respiratory, upper respiratory system. The drug was approved for market use in April 2004 and has since been prescribed more than five million times for treatment of upper respiratory infections.

In 2006, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a public health advisory regarding the FDA investigation of the alleged Ketek side effects and dangers. The side effects included liver failure and liver damage, which had allegedly affected 100 Ketek patients already with an additional 18 who had died as a result of the Ketek dangers.

Those who have suffered or are at risk for suffering from Ketek should consider receiving a consultation from an experienced Ketek law firm. An expert such as a pharmaceutical attorney will be able to provide insightful details as to the development of a Ketek class action lawsuit.

Individuals who are treated for CAP outside of the hospital have a mortality rate less than 1%. Fever typically responds in the first two days of therapy and other symptoms resolve in the first week. The x-ray, however, may remain abnormal for at least a month, even when CAP has been successfully treated. Among individuals who require hospitalization, the mortality rate averages 12% overall, but is as much as 40% in people who have bloodstream infections or require intensive care.



Information from our Pneumonia: Symptoms & General Information section - (Full List).

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