The health care provider will listen for crackles or abnormal breath sounds when listening to your chest with a stethoscope. Tapping on your chest wall (percussion) helps the provider listen and feel for abnormal sounds in your chest.
If pneumonia is suspected, the provider will likely order a chest x-ray.
The following tests may also help diagnose this condition:
Some people may need to be hospitalized. Treatment depends on how severe the pneumonia is and how ill the person is before the aspiration (chronic illness). Sometimes a ventilator (breathing machine) is needed to support breathing.
You will likely receive antibiotics.
You may need to have your swallowing function tested. People who have trouble swallowing may need to use other feeding methods to reduce the risk of aspiration.
Outcome depends on:
The health of the person before getting pneumonia
The type of bacteria causing the pneumonia
How much of the lungs are involved
More severe infections may result in long-term damage to the lungs.
Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, MHS, Paul F. Harron, Jr. Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.