Various Tests Recommended by Doctors to Diagnose Pneumonia

Infection of lung tissue is known as pneumonia. When a person is suffering from pneumonia, his lungs become filled with fluid, inflammatory cells and microorganisms and are not able to work properly. Signs and symptoms of an acute lower respiratory tract infection will allow to do diagnosis of pneumonia as well as chest X-ray is likely to help to confirm pneumonia, showing new shadowing that is not because of any other cause.

Sometimes it is hard to diagnose pneumonia because it may cause symptoms that are similar to flu or colds. One may not understand its seriousness until it lasts longer than commonly seen diseases. Doctors will diagnose pneumonia on the basis of physical exam, medical history and test results.

Medical History

To find out causes of pneumonia, doctor are likely to ask about the signs and symptoms as well as when and how they begin. To find out viral, fungal or bacterial pneumonia, doctor may ask someone the following:

  • Exposure to animals
  • Contact with sick people at home, work or at school
  • Any medicine one is consuming
  • About smoking habit
  • Any recent travelling done
  • About present and past medical conditions, if undergone worst condition recently
  • About hobbies
  • Whether one has had pneumonia or flu vaccinations

Physical Test

Using stethoscope, doctors are likely to check one’s lungs. The lungs will make rumbling, bubbling and crackling sounds while inhaling, if one have pneumonia. Also doctors will not able to listen to sounds of breathing in some areas of one’s chest.

Diagnostic tests

If doctor has doubt of having pneumonia, he/she will advise one to undergo one or more of following test

  • Chest X-ray: It is done to see inflammation in one’s lungs. It is the best test to diagnose pneumonia. However, this test fails to tell doctor the type of germs causing pneumonia.
  • Blood test: Generally complete blood count test has been done to check whether one’s immune system is actively fighting against an infection.
  • Blood culture: This test is recommended to find out whether one has bacterial infection that spread to one’s bloodstream. Doctors will decide procedure to treat the infection on the basis of its results.
  • Sputum Test: Doctors are likely to collect samples of phlegm or sputum and will send these samples to laboratory for testing purpose. The results will help doctors to find whether bacteria are affecting one’s pneumonia and he/she can plan respectively.
  • Pleural fluid culture: Fluid sample withdrew from pleural space is needed for this test. Thoracentesis is the procedure that doctors are following to collect samples of the fluid. The fluid is taken for test to study the bacteria that is influencing pneumonia.

Various other tests are also recommended by doctors to diagnose type of pneumonia and factors that are causing it. Pneumonia is further classified as hospital-based and community-acquired pneumonia. However, in this article, we only have discussed various test that can be done to diagnose pneumonia and not types or factors causing these types of pneumonia.

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About the Author

Anurag Sharma

Delivering high-quality research and consulting projects at tight deadlines remains Anurag Sharma's forte. An experienced market research professional, he has helped business of varied scales make key strategic decisions. Anurag is a specialist in the medical devices market research domain, and has accurately predicted the trends in the market. Anurag is an avid traveller and music aficionado; in his free time, he loves to introspect and plan ahead.

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