Peer Reviewed
Feature Article Respiratory medicine

Investigating the patient with recurrent pneumonia

Janet Rimmer
Investigation of recurrent pneumonia should be directed at assessment of the current episode to guide management and a search for the cause of recurring episodes.
Key Points
  • Recurrent pneumonia is pneumonia occurring at least twice in 12 months or three times during a lifetime.
  • It can affect all ages but the underlying causes differ according to age.
  • Investigation involves assessment of the current episode so it can be managed properly and a search for the underlying cause of the pneumonia.
  • Appropriate investigations include a chest x-ray, thoracic CT scan, identification of the causative organism and, as indicated, bronchoscopy and tests of swallowing, immune and cilial functions.
  • Specialist assistance is usually required for the management of recurrent pneumonia.
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