Difference Between Pneumonia and Lung Abscess

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Pneumonia and Lung Abscess

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Pneumonia and Lung Abscess are two significant lung-related health problems. These are the disorders that necessitate aggressive medical therapy. A lung abscess, also known as a pulmonary abscess, is an infection-caused pus-filled cavity in the lungs. A lung abscess is distinguished by the death or necrosis of lung tissues that occurs along with the production of pus. This happens when a severe bacterial infection destroys lung tissue. A serious infection in the lungs causes both disorders. The infection might arise as a result of aspiration, a lung tumour, or the presence of a foreign body within the lungs. The primary cause of the infections may differ, yet both lung illnesses are dangerous.

Pneumonia is usually caused by a virus or bacterium that you have been exposed to in the environment or that was passed on to you by another person. Pneumonia is a kind of lung inflammation caused by chemical damage, infection with viruses, bacteria, or fungus, or aspiration of food into the lungs. Pneumonia is a frequent lung illness characterised by the accumulation of pus and other fluids in the air sacs of the lungs. This inflammation of lung tissue or parenchyma causes a high temperature, shivering, shaking chills, and other symptoms. While unwell, a person with a viral illness, such as the influenza virus, may acquire a secondary infection from bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Pneumonia vs Lung Abscess

Pneumonia and Lung Abscess are caused by different things. Lung abscesses are caused by bacteria that can live in the absence of oxygen, commonly known as anaerobic bacteria. The oral cavity is the most prevalent location for such microorganisms. These organisms can enter the lungs as a result of illnesses in the mouth, throat, teeth, or gums. Pneumonia can be caused by a virus, bacteria, fungus, or other organisms, but those most vulnerable to such infections are those with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV or cancer, those with chronic lung, liver, or kidney illness, alcoholics, and malnourished people.

A patient with a lung abscess will often present with a fever, lethargy, wet cough, and commonly, foul-smelling sputum with blood. Weakness is another common complaint. The symptoms of pneumonia range from mild to severe in people. The patient may even suffer and get confused as a result of insufficient oxygen delivery. Antibiotics are used to treat lung abscesses until the x-ray indicates a clean lung area. Pneumonia is initially treated with oral antibiotics, but a sputum culture test is performed to identify the exact bacterium before beginning antibiotic therapy. Pneumonia is especially harmful to people over the age of 65 and newborns. It is considered a significant and deadly sickness to one's health. Imaging examinations of the chest can be used to diagnose a lung abscess. They are normally treated with antibiotics, although in certain situations, drainage or surgery may be necessary.

Difference Between Pneumonia and Lung Abscess in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison Pneumonia Lung Abscess
Definition Pneumonia occurs when the lungs begin to fill with fluids or pus as a result of a serious infection inside the lungs. Lung Abscess occurs when the lungs begin to fill with pus as a result of a bacterial infection on the lungs' walls.
Manifestation Usually, the patient arrives with a low-grade fever, lethargy, a wet cough, and From mildly unwell to moderately ill to extremely ill people, the symptoms vary.
Area of Occurrence Infection of one or both of the lungs' air sacs When pus accumulates in a lung cavity, an abscess results.
Surgery Not Required Surgery may be necessary for extremely rare circumstances.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia may strike anybody at any age. It is more frequent in the elderly and small children. Pneumonia is identified when a person is significantly affected by several diseases and also sees some form of collective fluid and pus inside the lungs. Bacteria also have a role in non-severe pneumonia cases, although to a lower level, and most instances are likely to be viral. Important viruses, as well as less frequent bacteria and fungi, are also pathogens. It is crucial to understand which bacteria cause pneumonia to guide therapy and policy. Pneumonia is a dangerous disease that can have serious consequences for the human body. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, these organisms enter the air, and inhaling in this air causes the condition to worsen. While unwell, a person with a viral illness, such as the influenza virus, may acquire a secondary infection from bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pneumonia. Some patients are more vulnerable to pneumonia because they have pre-existing lung illness, poor nutrition, difficulties swallowing, other chronic health problems, or immune system issues. As a result, it is a contagious illness. Pneumonia may be brought on by several bacteria. In the air we breathe, germs and viruses are the most prevalent. According on the kinds of bacteria that cause illness and how you acquired the infection, there are several varieties of pneumonia.

The severity of the illness varies according to the type of organism involved, age, and the individual's overall health. Pneumonia is generally caused by a bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic illness. Bacterial pneumonia typically causes severe illness in children, including high temperature and fast breathing. The illness can also be caused by physical or chemical harm to the lungs. Individuals who smoke, have chronic lung disorders or have diabetes are more likely to acquire pneumonia. A common complication is a hospital-acquired pneumonia. Chest X-rays and laboratory testing are performed to establish the existence of pneumonia, as well as the extent, location, and source of the illness. These symptoms might last for many days and should not be disregarded at all costs. Certain laboratory tests, such as chest X-rays, are used to confirm and identify the amount of illness and to rule out other chest infections. Pulse oximetry is used to determine the flow of oxygen through the blood and hence the functioning of the lungs. People who are hospitalised are more frequently screened for the most likely viruses and germs.

Pneumonia can be avoided by practising good hygiene, such as washing hands regularly and thoroughly after blowing one's nose, going to the toilet, and before eating, as well as avoiding smoking, which affects the lungs. Some of the Preventive Measures include being immunised against pneumonia, such as the flu shot. If you have been diagnosed with pneumonia, you should take the following steps: Take it seriously and look after yourself. The majority of persons with Pneumonia can be treated with medication and rest. However, one in every five persons with pneumonia requires hospitalisation, and People with serious infections may need to be admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) and life-sustaining measures. Pneumonia is often a short-term infection, although it can sometimes stay longer or worsen before improving. Most of the time, though, people recover completely.

What is Lung Abscess?

A lung abscess is a suppurative lesion in the lung parenchyma produced by microbial infection and characterised by a cavity of 1 cm or greater surrounded by inflammation and necrosis. It is also known as a lung illness caused by a bacterial infection inside the lungs' walls, which severely damages the lungs' tissues. It is generally caused by aspiration, which occurs during altered consciousness and results in a pus-filled hollow. Furthermore, drunkenness is the most prevalent cause of lung abscesses. Lung abscess is classified as primary (60%) when it arises from an existing lung parenchymal disease and secondary when it worsens to another condition. Lung abscesses are most commonly caused by oral anaerobes and develop as a result of aspiration pneumonia. Patients who are predisposed to aspiration alcohol abuse, diminished awareness, epileptics, etc are in danger. Lung Abscess progressively manifests symptoms such as chest discomfort, fever, weight loss, cough, lack of appetite, and so on. Anaerobes are typically obtained from individuals with a history of aspiration or poor oral hygiene. Pepto streptococci, Bacteroides, Fusobacterium species, and microaerophilic streptococci are common isolates. Some diagnostics, like a chest X-ray, CT scan, and blood test, can be used to diagnose this condition. The organisms that are producing the abscess must be detected as soon as possible because they need different treatment than the normal pathogens that cause lung abscesses if the immune system is compromised.

A secondary lung abscess can develop when an infection spreads to the lungs from another part of the body. The coughing continues to be productive, occasionally accompanied by hemoptysis. Differential diagnosis includes digging TB and mycosis, however radiological signs of gas-liquid level are seldom detected. Clubbing fingers might arise in people with persistent abscesses. This can happen by inhalation, bloodstream, or from outside the body. Lung abscesses are frequently composed of both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. The microorganisms present vary according to the underlying reason. If the overall state or radiographic findings do not improve, it is required to do a bronchoscopy and modify the antibiotics owing to another etiological reason. Antibiotics and non-surgical drainage are used to treat lung abscesses. If the Lung Abscess is not treated right away, it might progress to fatal Lung Cancer. Antibiotics alone are frequently enough to treat a lung abscess and are successful around 80% of the time. Lung abscesses are seldom treated with drainage or surgery.

Difference Between Pneumonia and Lung Abscess In Points

  1. Pneumonia occurs when the lungs begin to fill with fluids or pus as a result of a serious infection inside the lungs. Lung Abscess, on the other hand, occurs when the lungs begin to fill with pus due to a bacterial infection on the lungs' walls.
  2. Pneumonia can be caused by a variety of reasons, including chemical injuries or infections caused by viruses, fungus, and other microorganisms. Lung Abscess, on the other hand, is mostly caused by pus in the lungs and is often caused by some type of bacterial infection in the lungs' tissues.
  3. Pneumonia symptoms include fever, chills, weariness, loss of appetite, breathing difficulties, sweating, dehydration, and so on. Lung Abscess, on the other hand, encompasses a variety of symptoms such as chest discomfort, fever, weight loss, and so on.
  4. Pneumonia can be diagnosed primarily using X-ray, complete blood count, or plus oximetry, among other methods. Lung Abscess, on the other hand, can be diagnosed using the following methods: Chest X-ray, CT Scan, Blood test, etc.
  5. Smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, and other factors can all contribute to Pneumonia. Lung Abscess, on the other hand, is caused by conditions such as alcoholism, drug abuse, and so on.
  6. Pneumonia includes over 30 variations, including Bacterial Pneumonia, Viral Pneumonia, and Mycoplasma Pneumonia. Pneumonia is classified into three categories, whereas Lung Abscess is classified into two forms: Primary Lung Abscess and Secondary Lung Abscess.
  7. Pneumonia treatments vary depending on the kind of pneumonia, therefore physicians choose antibiotics, OTC medications, hydration intake, and so on. Lung Abscess therapies vary depending on the type of Lung Abscess; antibiotics and surgery are two examples.


In the majority of instances, pneumonia may be completely treated without any side effects. Complications often affect those with other crippling illnesses. Antibiotics are often used to treat patients with bacterial pneumonia to eradicate the illness. Necrosis or cavitation inside a zone of pneumonia or dense consolidation is the telltale sign of a lung abscess; the necrotic region might seem highly asymmetrical.

Pneumonia is a lung inflammation that can occur as a result of any inflammatory activity. If left untreated, it leads to a lung abscess, which is a pus accumulation in already injured lung tissue. A lung abscess destroys and forms a hollow filled with pus, whereas pneumonia causes widespread inflammation of the lung tissue. For an abscess, drainage of pus plus antibiotics is used, whereas pneumonia is treated alone with drugs. However, both diseases are connected to the lung, which if left untreated can be fatal since it significantly damages the lung and its related components, hence the risk factors are severe.


  • Difference Between Pneumonia and Lung Abscess (With Table) – Difference Between (nftartranking.com)
  • Pneumonia, Bronchiectasis, and Lung Abscess | Harrison's Manual of Medicine, 19e | AccessMedicine | McGraw Hill Medical (mhmedical.com)
  • Aspiration Pneumonia and Lung Abscess - Pulmonology Advisor


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"Difference Between Pneumonia and Lung Abscess." Diffzy.com, 2024. Mon. 20 May. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-pneumonia-and-lung-abscess-1083>.

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