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Pneumonia: Diagnosis (Pediatric Nursing)

by Paula Ruedebusch

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    00:01 Community-acquired pneumonia is a common disease in infancy and childhood, and it's diagnosed in otherwise healthy children who have been outpatient.

    00:08 These kids have not been in the hospital.

    00:11 However, determining a cause of their pneumonia is still a challenge due to the relative inaccessibility of their infected tissue, right, because it's inside their lungs, and the difficulty in obtaining a non-contaminated sample of the airway.

    00:24 So, there is a way to send a sputum sample to the lab and determine if a patient has a viral or a bacterial pneumonia.

    00:30 However, the technique for actually expectorating that sputum and getting it from deep down in the lungs is actually quite difficult.

    00:37 Most children and adults cannot get a good sample.

    00:41 So, if the child just spits into the cup, you're going to be sending their oral flora to the lab, and that's not helpful.

    00:49 The diagnosis of community- acquired pneumonia can also be made based on their symptoms, right? Does the child have a new fever or respiratory symptoms? When you do a chest X-ray, is there a presence of pulmonary infiltration? And also, consolidation.

    01:05 A child can be diagnosed with hospital-acquired pneumonia, or HAP, if they happen to develop a pneumonia about 48 hours after they've been inpatient in the hospital.

    01:15 These are treated differently.

    01:17 Often, pneumonia is a clinical diagnosis without the use of diagnostic testing.

    01:23 Patients with severe symptoms, those who are in the hospital, and those who are having a complicated clinical course should undergo diagnostic testing.

    01:32 You can do a chest X-ray on your patient, but remember, this causes radiation to the patient and there's a financial cost.

    01:39 Unfortunately, also, chest X-rays don't tell you the causative agent of the pneumonia as well as previously thought.

    01:46 Previously, it was thought that a lobar consolidation was associated with pneumococcal infections like Strep pneumoniae, and interstitial infiltrations were associated with viral infections.

    01:56 However, that has been debunked and both findings are identified in both types of pneumonia, either viral alone, bacterial alone, or some patients that actually have a viral and bacterial co-infective pneumonia.

    02:11 In most children with community- acquired pneumonia, the identification of the causative organism is not critical.

    02:17 And chest X-rays should not be done in an outpatient setting in children with a mild course.

    02:23 You might do a chest radiograph on patients with ambiguous clinical findings, a prolonged pneumonia that's just not resolving as it should, and meeting the possibility of complications such as pleural effusions.

    02:35 It's reasonable to treat your patient for pneumonia based on their clinical findings.

    02:41 Now, another way to diagnose pneumonia is bronchoalveolar lavage, or BAL, and this yields an adequate sample, but it's reserved only for very severe cases at risk for a poor outcome.

    02:54 During this procedure, a bronchoscope is advanced through the mouth or nose and all the way to the lungs.

    02:59 A fluid is squirted into part of the lung and then it's collected and sent to the lab for analysis.

    03:04 This can tell the clinician what type of infection is present.

    03:08 Blood cultures should be obtained in only very ill children in whom bacterial pneumonia is suspected, or a neonates suspected of having pneumonia.

    03:18 Another diagnostic tool is a nasopharyngeal PCR test that can identify airway pathogens.

    03:25 Now, just classic standard blood work is not particularly helpful in identifying a viral from a bacterial pneumonia infection.

    03:32 It's not recommended.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Pneumonia: Diagnosis (Pediatric Nursing) by Paula Ruedebusch is from the course Respiratory Disorders – Pediatric Nursing.


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP)
    2. Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP)
    3. Home-acquired pneumonia (HAP)
    4. Environmentally-acquired pneumonia (EAP)
    5. Socially-acquired pneumonia (SAP)

    Author of lecture Pneumonia: Diagnosis (Pediatric Nursing)

     Paula Ruedebusch

    Paula Ruedebusch


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