Necrotic pneumonia, sometimes called necrotizing pneumonia, is a very serious form of lung disease. This form of lung disease can rapidly destroy lung tissue, resulting in severe and progressing pulmonary problems that may ultimately be fatal. Necrotic pneumonia can be due to severe lung infections or as a result of inhaling the contents of the stomach, also known as aspiration pneumonia.
The symptoms of necrotic pneumonia are similar to those resulting from conventional pneumonia, but are often much worse. Patients often present with shortness of breath, wheezing and fatigue. Necrotic pneumonia also causes a severe cough that may produce phlegm that is foul-smelling, green or flecked with blood and/or pus. Other signs of necrotic pneumonia include fever, chest pain and the skin turning blue to a lack of oxygenation.
Necrotic pneumonia is typically due to a bacterial infection that begins to destroy the lung tissue. The most common type of bacteria that causes necrotic pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae, though other species are increasingly being identified in sputum cultures of individuals with this serious form of pneumonia. The bacteria can gain access to the lungs via a pre-existing infection or due to inhalation of the contents of the stomach (aspiration).
You can typically diagnose necrotic pneumonia from an X-ray of the chest. A chest X-ray will show pockets or cavities of destroyed tissue, as well as a buildup of fluid in these areas of dead lung tissue. The lungs may also be surrounded by pus or pleural fluid due to the inflammation and tissue damage.
Treatment of necrotic pneumonia hinges on treating the infection destroying the tissue. Patients may also need a chest tube or catheter placed to drain fluid from around the lungs. For patients who develop severe respiratory distress, ventilation may be needed to keep the lungs functioning.