Deep Learning Technology: Sebastian Arnold, Betty van Aken, Paul Grundmann, Felix A. Gers and Alexander Löser. Learning Contextualized Document Representations for Healthcare Answer Retrieval. The Web Conference 2020 (WWW'20)
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Antibiotics do not help the many lower respiratory infections which are caused by parasites or viruses. While acute bronchitis often does not require antibiotic therapy, antibiotics can be given to patients with acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis. The indications for treatment are increased dyspnoea, and an increase in the volume or purulence of the sputum. The treatment of bacterial pneumonia is selected by considering the age of the patient, the severity of the illness and the presence of underlying disease. Amoxicillin and doxycycline are suitable for many of the lower respiratory tract infections seen in general practice.
Vaccination helps prevent bronchopneumonia, mostly against influenza viruses, adenoviruses, measles, rubella, streptococcus pneumoniae, haemophilus influenzae, diphtheria, bacillus anthracis, chickenpox, and bordetella pertussis.
Antigen detection, polymerase chain reaction assay, virus isolation, and serology can be used to identify adenovirus infections. Adenovirus typing is usually accomplished by hemagglutination-inhibition and/or neutralization with type-specific antisera. Since adenovirus can be excreted for prolonged periods, the presence of virus does not necessarily mean it is associated with disease.
In patients managed in the community, determining the causative agent is not cost-effective and typically does not alter management. For people who do not respond to treatment, sputum culture should be considered, and culture for "Mycobacterium tuberculosis" should be carried out in persons with a chronic productive cough. Testing for other specific organisms may be recommended during outbreaks, for public health reasons. In those hospitalized for severe disease, both sputum and blood cultures are recommended, as well as testing the urine for antigens to "Legionella" and "Streptococcus". Viral infections can be confirmed via detection of either the virus or its antigens with culture or polymerase chain reaction (PCR), among other techniques. The causative agent is determined in only 15% of cases with routine microbiological tests.
Several diseases can present with similar signs and symptoms to pneumonia, such as: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, pulmonary edema, bronchiectasis, lung cancer, and pulmonary emboli. Unlike pneumonia, asthma and COPD typically present with wheezing, pulmonary edema presents with an abnormal electrocardiogram, cancer and bronchiectasis present with a cough of longer duration, and pulmonary emboli presents with acute onset sharp chest pain and shortness of breath.
The diagnosis is typically made by clinical examination. Chest X-ray is sometimes useful to exclude bacterial pneumonia, but not indicated in routine cases.
Testing for the specific viral cause can be done but has little effect on management and thus is not routinely recommended. RSV testing by direct immunofluorescence testing on nasopharyngeal aspirate had a sensitivity of 61% and specificity of 89%. Identification of those who are RSV-positive can help for: disease surveillance, grouping ("cohorting") people together in hospital wards to prevent cross infection, predicting whether the disease course has peaked yet, reducing the need for other diagnostic procedures (by providing confidence that a cause has been identified).
Infants with bronchiolitis between the age of two and three months have a second infection by bacteria (usually a urinary tract infection) less than 6% of the time. Preliminary studies have suggested that elevated procalcitonin levels may assist clinicians in determining the presence of bacterial coinfection, which could prevent unnecessary antibiotic use and costs.
Safe and effective adenovirus vaccines were developed for adenovirus serotypes 4 and 7, but were available only for preventing ARD among US military recruits, and production stopped in 1996. Strict attention to good infection-control practices is effective for stopping transmission in hospitals of adenovirus-associated disease, such as epidemic keratoconjunctivitis. Maintaining adequate levels of chlorination is necessary for preventing swimming pool-associated outbreaks of adenovirus conjunctivitis.
The best prevention against viral pneumonia is vaccination against influenza, adenovirus, chickenpox, herpes zoster, measles, and rubella.
Chest radiographs (X-ray photographs) often show a pulmonary infection before physical signs of atypical pneumonia are observable at all.
This is occult pneumonia. In general, occult pneumonia is rather often present in patients with pneumonia and can also be caused by "Streptococcus pneumoniae", as the decrease of occult pneumonia after vaccination of children with a pneumococcal vaccine suggests.
Infiltration commonly begins in the perihilar region (where the bronchus begins) and spreads in a wedge- or fan-shaped fashion toward the periphery of the lung field. The process most often involves the lower lobe, but may affect any lobe or combination of lobes.
In cases of viral pneumonia where influenza A or B are thought to be causative agents, patients who are seen within 48 hours of symptom onset may benefit from treatment with oseltamivir or zanamivir. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has no direct acting treatments, but ribavirin in indicated for severe cases. Herpes simplex virus and varicella-zoster virus infections are usually treated with aciclovir, whilst ganciclovir is used to treat cytomegalovirus. There is no known efficacious treatment for pneumonia caused by SARS coronavirus, MERS coronavirus, adenovirus, hantavirus, or parainfluenza. Care is largely supportive.
In hospitalised patients who develop respiratory symptoms and fever, one should consider the diagnosis. The likelihood increases when upon investigation symptoms are found of respiratory insufficiency, purulent secretions, newly developed infiltrate on the chest X-Ray, and increasing leucocyte count. If pneumonia is suspected material from sputum or tracheal aspirates are sent to the microbiology department for cultures. In case of pleural effusion thoracentesis is performed for examination of pleural fluid. In suspected ventilator-associated pneumonia it has been suggested that bronchoscopy(BAL) is necessary because of the known risks surrounding clinical diagnoses.
Prevention of bronchiolitis relies strongly on measures to reduce the spread of the viruses that cause respiratory infections (that is, handwashing, and avoiding exposure to those symptomatic with respiratory infections). In addition to good hygiene an improved immune system is a great tool for prevention. One way to improve the immune system is to feed the infant with breast milk, especially during the first month of life. Immunizations are available for premature infants who meet certain criteria (some cardiac and respiratory disorders) such as Palivizumab (a monoclonal antibody against RSV). Passive immunization therapy requires monthly injections during winter.
Patients with symptoms of CAP require evaluation. Diagnosis of pneumonia is made clinically, rather than on the basis of a particular test. Evaluation begins with a physical examination by a health provider, which may reveal fever, an increased respiratory rate (tachypnea), low blood pressure (hypotension), a fast heart rate (tachycardia) and changes in the amount of oxygen in the blood. Palpating the chest as it expands and tapping the chest wall (percussion) to identify dull, non-resonant areas can identify stiffness and fluid, signs of CAP. Listening to the lungs with a stethoscope (auscultation) can also reveal signs associated with CAP. A lack of normal breath sounds or the presence of crackles can indicate fluid consolidation. Increased vibration of the chest when speaking, known as tactile fremitus, and increased volume of whispered speech during auscultation can also indicate fluid.
When signs of pneumonia are discovered during evaluation, chest X-rays, are performed to support a diagnosis of CAP, and examination of the blood and sputum for infectious microorganisms and blood tests may be used to support a diagnosis of CAP. Diagnostic tools depend on the severity of illness, local practices and concern about complications of the infection. All patients with CAP should have their blood oxygen monitored with pulse oximetry. In some cases, arterial blood gas analysis may be required to determine the amount of oxygen in the blood. A complete blood count (CBC) may reveal extra white blood cells, indicating infection.
Chest X-rays and X-ray computed tomography (CT) can reveal areas of opacity (seen as white), indicating consolidation. CAP does not always appear on x-rays, because the disease is in its initial stages or involves a part of the lung an x-ray does not see well. In some cases, chest CT can reveal pneumonia not seen on x-rays. However, congestive heart failure or other types of lung damage can mimic CAP on x-rays.
Several tests can identify the cause of CAP. Blood cultures can isolate bacteria or fungi in the bloodstream. Sputum Gram staining and culture can also reveal the causative microorganism. In severe cases, bronchoscopy can collect fluid for culture. Special tests can be performed if an uncommon microorganism is suspected, such as urinalysis for Legionella antigen in Legionnaires' disease.
The most commonly used system for classifying the severity of croup is the Westley score. It is primarily used for research purposes rather than in clinical practice. It is the sum of points assigned for five factors: level of consciousness, cyanosis, stridor, air entry, and retractions. The points given for each factor is listed in the adjacent table, and the final score ranges from 0 to 17.
- A total score of ≤ 2 indicates "mild" croup. The characteristic barking cough and hoarseness may be present, but there is no stridor at rest.
- A total score of 3–5 is classified as "moderate" croup. It presents with easily heard stridor, but with few other signs.
- A total score of 6–11 is "severe" croup. It also presents with obvious stridor, but also features marked chest wall indrawing.
- A total score of ≥ 12 indicates impending respiratory failure. The barking cough and stridor may no longer be prominent at this stage.
85% of children presenting to the emergency department have mild disease; severe croup is rare (<1%).
Mycoplasma is found more often in younger than in older people.
Older people are more often infected by Legionella.
The diagnosis can be confirmed by the characteristic appearance of the chest x-ray, which shows widespread pulmonary infiltrates, and an arterial oxygen level (PaO) that is strikingly lower than would be expected from symptoms. Gallium 67 scans are also useful in the diagnosis. They are abnormal in approximately 90% of cases and are often positive before the chest x-ray becomes abnormal. The diagnosis can be definitively confirmed by histological identification of the causative organism in sputum or bronchio-alveolar lavage (lung rinse). Staining with toluidine blue, silver stain, periodic-acid schiff stain, or an immunofluorescence assay will show the characteristic cysts. The cysts resemble crushed ping-pong balls and are present in aggregates of 2 to 8 (and not to be confused with "Histoplasma" or "Cryptococcus", which typically do not form aggregates of spores or cells). A lung biopsy would show thickened alveolar septa with fluffy eosinophilic exudate in the alveoli. Both the thickened septa and the fluffy exudate contribute to dysfunctional diffusion capacity which is characteristic of this pneumonia.
"Pneumocystis" infection can also be diagnosed by immunofluorescent or histochemical staining of the specimen, and more recently by molecular analysis of polymerase chain reaction products comparing DNA samples. Notably, simple molecular detection of "Pneumocystis jirovecii" in lung fluids does not mean that a person has "Pneumocystis" pneumonia or infection by HIV. The fungus appears to be present in healthy individuals in the general population.
Croup is typically diagnosed based on signs and symptoms. The first step is to exclude other obstructive conditions of the upper airway, especially epiglottitis, an airway foreign body, subglottic stenosis, angioedema, retropharyngeal abscess, and bacterial tracheitis.
A frontal X-ray of the neck is not routinely performed, but if it is done, it may show a characteristic narrowing of the trachea, called the steeple sign, because of the subglottic stenosis, which resembles a steeple in shape. The steeple sign is suggestive of the diagnosis, but is absent in half of cases.
Other investigations (such as blood tests and viral culture) are discouraged, as they may cause unnecessary agitation and thus worsen the stress on the compromised airway. While viral cultures, obtained via nasopharyngeal aspiration, can be used to confirm the exact cause, these are usually restricted to research settings. Bacterial infection should be considered if a person does not improve with standard treatment, at which point further investigations may be indicated.
"M. pneumoniae" infections can be differentiated from other types of pneumonia by the relatively slow progression of symptoms. A positive blood test for cold-hemagglutinins in 50–70% of patients after 10 days of infection (cold-hemagglutinin-test should be used with caution or not at all, since 50% of the tests are false-positive), lack of bacteria in a Gram-stained sputum sample, and a lack of growth on blood agar.
PCR has also been used.
Dogs will typically recover from kennel cough within a few weeks. However, secondary infections could lead to complications that could do more harm than the disease itself. Several opportunistic invaders have been recovered from the respiratory tracts of dogs with kennel cough, including Streptococcus, Pasteurella, Pseudomonas, and various coliforms. These bacteria have the potential to cause pneumonia or sepsis, which drastically increase the severity of the disease. These complications are evident in thoracic radiographic examinations. Findings will be mild in animals affected only by kennel cough, while those with complications may have evidence of segmental atelectasis and other severe side effects.
While antibiotics with activity specifically against "M. pneumoniae" are often used (e.g., erythromycin, doxycycline), it is unclear if these result in greater benefit than using antibiotics without specific activity against this organism in those with an infection acquired in the community.
Antibiotics are given to treat any bacterial infection present. Cough suppressants are used if the cough is not productive. NSAIDs are often given to reduce fever and upper respiratory inflammation. Prevention is by vaccinating for canine adenovirus, distemper, parainfluenza, and "Bordetella". In kennels, the best prevention is to keep all the cages disinfected. In some cases, such as "doggie daycares" or nontraditional playcare-type boarding environments, it is usually not a cleaning or disinfecting issue, but rather an airborne issue, as the dogs are in contact with each other's saliva and breath. Although most kennels require proof of vaccination, the vaccination is not a fail-safe preventative. Just like human influenza, even after receiving the vaccination, a dog can still contract mutated strains or less severe cases.
CAP may be prevented by treating underlying illnesses increasing its risk, by smoking cessation and vaccination of children and adults. Vaccination against "haemophilus influenzae" and "streptococcus pneumoniae" in the first year of life has reduced their role in childhood CAP. A vaccine against "streptococcus pneumoniae", available for adults, is recommended for healthy individuals over 65 and all adults with COPD, heart failure, diabetes mellitus, cirrhosis, alcoholism, cerebrospinal fluid leaks or who have had a splenectomy. Re-vaccination may be required after five or ten years.
Patients who are vaccinated against "streptococcus pneumoniae", health professionals, nursing-home residents and pregnant women should be vaccinated annually against influenza. During an outbreak, drugs such as amantadine, rimantadine, zanamivir and oseltamivir have been demonstrated to prevent influenza.
In terms of the diagnosis of Klebsiella pneumonia the following can be done to determine if the individual has this infection, including "susceptibility testing" for (ESBL) "Extended Spectrum β-Lactamase", as well as:
- CT scan
Patients with HCAP are more likely than those with community-acquired pneumonia to receive inappropriate antibiotics that do not target the bacteria causing their disease.
In 2002, an expert panel made recommendations about the evaluation and treatment of probable nursing home-acquired pneumonia. They defined probably pneumonia, emphasized expedite antibiotic treatment (which is known to improve survival) and drafted criteria for the hospitalization of willing patients.
For initial treatment in the nursing home, a fluoroquinolone antibiotic suitable for respiratory infections (moxifloxacin, for example), or amoxicillin with clavulanic acid plus a macrolide has been suggested. In a hospital setting, injected (parenteral) fluoroquinolones or a second- or third-generation cephalosporin plus a macrolide could be used. Other factors that need to be taken into account are recent antibiotic therapy (because of possible resistance caused by recent exposure), known carrier state or risk factors for resistant organisms (for example, known carrier of MRSA or presence of bronchiectasis predisposing to Pseudomonas aeruginosa), or suspicion of possible Legionella pneumophila infection (legionnaires disease).
In 2005, the American Thoracic Society and Infectious Diseases Society of America have published guidelines suggesting antibiotics specifically for HCAP. The guidelines recommend combination therapy with an agent from each of the following groups to cover for both "Pseudomonas aeruginosa" and MRSA. This is based on studies using sputum samples and intensive care patients, in whom these bacteria were commonly found.
- cefepime, ceftazidime, imipenem, meropenem or piperacillin–tazobactam; plus
- ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, amikacin, gentamicin, or tobramycin; plus
- linezolid or vancomycin
In one observational study, empirical antibiotic treatment that was not according to international treatment guidelines was an independent predictor of worse outcome among HCAP patients.
Guidelines from Canada suggest that HCAP can be treated like community-acquired pneumonia with antibiotics targeting Streptococcus pneumoniae, based on studies using blood cultures in different settings which have not found high rates of MRSA or Pseudomonas.
Besides prompt antibiotic treatment, supportive measure for organ failure (such as cardiac decompensation) are also important. Another consideration goes to hospital referral; although more severe pneumonia requires admission to an acute care facility, this also predisposes to hazards of hospitalization such as delirium, urinary incontinence, depression, falls, restraint use, functional decline, adverse drug effects and hospital infections. Therefore, mild pneumonia might be better dealt with inside the long term care facility. In patients with a limited life expectancy (for example, those with advanced dementia), end-of-life pneumonia also requires recognition and appropriate, palliative care.
The most common organisms which cause lobar pneumonia are "Streptococcus pneumoniae", also called pneumococcus, "Haemophilus influenzae" and "Moraxella catarrhalis". "Mycobacterium tuberculosis", the tubercle bacillus, may also cause lobar pneumonia if pulmonary tuberculosis is not treated promptly.
Like other types of pneumonia, lobar pneumonia can present as community acquired, in immune suppressed patients or as nosocomial infection. However, most causative organisms are of the community acquired type.
Pathological specimens to be obtained for investigations include:
1. Sputum for culture, AAFBS and gram stain
2. Blood for full hemogram/complete blood count, ESR and other acute phase reactants
3. Procalcitonin test, more specific
The identification of the infectious organism (or other cause) is an important part of modern treatment of pneumonia. The anatomical patterns of distribution can be associated with certain organisms, and can help in selection of an antibiotic while waiting for the pathogen to be cultured.