Diagnosing pneumonia is becoming an increasingly common practice in doctor’s offices everywhere, as individuals are constantly becoming susceptible to environmental pollutants and hazards that ultimately result in the contraction of this sometimes-deadly disease.
How is Pneumonia Diagnosed?
Doctors use a variety of methods to diagnose pneumonia in a proper and timely manner. If the health professional cannot detect the disease by acknowledging the patient’s symptoms and performing a thorough physical exam, additional investigation may be in store.
The X-ray is probably the most widely used pneumonia-diagnosing mechanism in hospitals and medical clinics that contain such machines. X-rays allow the radiologist to look specifically at ruling out pneumonia in a patient to find out if there is an abnormal amount of opacity in the lungs, which may indicate the presence of unwanted fluids in the pleural cavity.
Sometimes a CT scan may be ordered by the physician if the diagnosis of pneumonia becomes an increasingly complicated issue. Diagnostic tests have also been used to detect other medical complications associated with the diagnosis of pneumonia.
Pneumonia is also Diagnosed using Other Procedures
When the doctor opts to view the insides of the lung and corresponding airways that lead to it, a bronchoscopy may be necessary in order to fulfill this task.
During a bronchoscopy, the lung specialist inserts a narrow pipe-structure and calmly pushes it through the oral cavity, into the bronchi, and eventually making an observation of the inner structures of the respiratory system.
In the initial stages of pneumonia, a doctor may ask the patient to undergo a spirometry exam, in which the patient breathes into a tube and the function and total air capacity of the person is recorded and mathematically concluded.
When the pneumonia patient is producing colored sputum, it may be wise to have the nurse collect a small sample of it in order to determine the exact microorganism that is encased in the sputum. This is usually done by sending out the sample to a diagnostic lab and obtaining the results from them, thereby allowing the physician to treat the pneumonia very accurately and efficiently.
Aspiration pneumonias can be detected using x-rays at least a few hours following inhalation. Symptoms that doctors look for when diagnosing aspiration pneumonia include: coughing, grunting and fevers that occur after ingesting or breathing in harmful hydrocarbons, bodily fluids, and other foreign substances.
Lastly, a thoracentesis may be required if the recently diagnosed pneumonia patient happens to have an excess amount of fluid in the chest cavity. A thoracentesis involves the insertion of a needle into the lungs and extraction of the liquid. In many cases, the liquid is sent out to the labs for further investigation.