Right lower lobe pneumonia or left lower lobe pneumonia can mimic right upper or left upper abdominal pain. The pain perception is similar to atelectasis (lung collapse).
The symptoms vary somewhat depending on the pathogen isolated. However, there usually is a cough, body temperature elevation and production of mucus or phlegm. In addition, there can be pain in the chest area, which shows disease. The patient may have a piercing pain with coughing or dyspnea. With lower lobe pneumonia there is often a lot of irritation of the diaphragm. This can lead to radiating pain into the right or left upper abdomen.
It is because of this radiating pain into the abdomen that pneumonia is mentioned here. Chest X-rays will confirm the diagnosis. Typically, a shadow in the lower lung of the patient is produced from the higher tissue density associated with the lower lobe pneumonia. The physician may find crackling sounds on auscultation.
Sputum that was cultured often is growing bacteria, such as the pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae. However, with viral pneumonia the cultures may be negative. I am not going into the various possible causes of pneumonia here. Treatment varies regarding the cause of the pneumonia, although often it is a presumptive diagnosis, if there is no positive identification of a pathogen. Empiric antibiotics are often given.
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