Lung Abscess - Necrosis of Lung Tissue
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Lung Abscess - Necrosis of Lung Tissue

Written by
Dr. Goswami Parth Rajendragiri
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Apr 24, 2017 and last reviewed on Aug 02, 2023   -  2 min read


A microbial infection that results in a pus-filled cavity in the lung is called a lung abscess. Learn about its causes, symptoms, and treatment here.

Lung Abscess - Necrosis of Lung Tissue

What Are the Causes of Lung Abscess?

  1. Bacterial organisms like staphylococci, klebsiella, streptococci, etc., causes pyogenic pneumonia. Tuberculosis and fungal infections can also lead to an abscess, if not treated at the right time.
  2. Respiratory stenosis occurs by the accumulation of mucus, any tumor, or foreign substance.
  3. Septicemia leads to metastatic lung abscess.
  4. Bronchiectasis and aspiration of infected materials.
  5. Malignancy.
  6. Other respiratory problem like Wegener's granulomatosis, silicosis, etc.

What Are the Clinical Symptoms and Signs of Lung Abscess?

  1. Fever.
  2. Sweating.
  3. Expectoration of a large amount of purulent and frothy sputum.
  4. Cough.
  5. Chest pain.
  6. Foul breath.
  7. Hemoptysis.
  8. Weight loss.


  1. Rales sound is heard on auscultation.
  2. Finger clubbing.
  3. X-ray shows cavity or consolidation.

How Is Lung Abscess Diagnosed?

  1. Chest x-ray.
  2. ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) is high.
  3. CRP (C-reactive protein) is high.
  4. CBC (complete blood count).
  5. Bronchoscopy.
  6. CT (computerized tomography) scan if needed.

What Are the Complications of Lung Abscess?

  1. Hemoptysis.
  2. The infection spreads to other organs, like cerebral abscesses.
  3. Pleural cavity rupture.

How Is Lung AbscessTreated?

  1. Bed rest.
  2. High protein diet, vitamin supplementation, avoid excess fried and spicy foods.
  3. If severe anemia occurs by bleeding in sputum, then blood transfusion or parenteral iron injection might be needed.
  4. Postural drainage is encouraged.
  5. Bronchoscopy suction if needed.
  6. Oxygen is given if needed.
  7. Do culture and accordingly give antibiotics. Mostly, Amoxicillin, Levofloxacin, and Metronidazole like drugs are needed to cover broad range of bacteria.
  8. If malignancy is associated, then surgical resection might be necessary.

For more information consult a pulmonologist online -->

Frequently Asked Questions


What Are the Impacts of Lung Abscess on the Lung?

Lung abscess causes fluid accumulation in the lungs. Bacteria usually cause it. An untreated lung abscess may result in respiratory failure.


What Is the Frequent Cause of Lung Abscesses?

In recent times, the most common cause of lung abscesses is due to aspiration (swallowing) from the oral cavity. However, certain bacteria may also contribute to lung infections.


How Complicated Is an Abscess Present in the Lungs?

An abscess of the lungs can be quite serious. As the lungs play an essential role in respiration, lung abscesses may damage the lung tissues. Therefore, it may result in lung failure.


What Do You Mean by Putrid Lung Abscess?

A type of lung abscess caused by anaerobic bacteria is called putrid lung abscess. The fluid present in this type of abscess may have an unpleasant smell. It causes infection and inflammation of the lungs.


Does Necrotic Pneumonia Spread From Person to Person?

Necrotic pneumonia is generally observed in adults with co-existing medical conditions. It is predominantly seen in males. Although it may cause serious health issues, it is not contagious.


Is Surgery Required to Treat Lung Abscesses?

The primary goal of treating lung abscesses is to drain any pus accumulated in the lung cavity. Usually, antibiotics are prescribed to help subside infection. However, some cases may require surgery to drain the abscess.


What Does Necrotic Mass in the Lungs Indicate?

Necrosis refers to permanent damage to tissues. It may result due to a lack of blood supply or oxygen. A necrotic mass of the lungs indicates permanent lung damage.


What Factors Are Considered Dangerous in Lung Abscess?

Factors like smoking, diabetes, and other medically compromised conditions are high-risk factors. Also, exposure to certain toxic chemicals and inhalation of dangerous gases may affect the lungs. Elderly people are most prone to lung infections.


Can We Avoid Lung Abscesses?

Individuals with comorbidities are at higher risk of lung abscesses. Taking primary preventive measures can help avoid lung abscesses. For example, proper vaccination and avoiding smoking can help prevent lung abscesses.


Which Antibiotic Is the Preferred Choice of Drug for Lung Infection?

Macrolide antibiotics like Azithromycin are the preferred drug to treat lung infections. However, other antibiotics like Penicillin and Erythromycin are also found to be effective.


Can Antibiotics Cure Lung Nodules?

Antibiotics majorly help to prevent the multiplication of infections. So, the lungs can heal efficiently with antibiotics. However, certain lung nodules may require a multi-disciplinary approach, depending on their size and extension.


Can Lungs Repair Themselves?

Lungs have the ability to repair and heal themselves. However, its capacity to regenerate depends on the degree of damage. Therefore, it may take a longer duration to heal completely.


Can Necrosis Cause Death?

Necrosis occurs due to decreased blood flow to various tissues in the body. Poor blood supply may damage the organs. Hence, necrosis in vital tissues has a high potential to cause death.

Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
02 Aug 2023  -  2 min read




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