Skip to main content

Pediatric presentation of pulmonic effusion secondary to influenza

A previously healthy 13-year-old male presented with a 10-day history of intermittent fevers. He had a several-day history of productive cough with nausea and vomiting and had been treated for dehydration 4 days previously. No chest X-ray was obtained. On the second visit to the ED, the patient was markedly hypotensive (80/40), tachycardic, and febrile at 104.9ºF. On exam, his mentation was slow. The patient’s extremities appeared mottled and cyanotic. He had decreased breath sounds in the left lung fields. Chest X-ray showed left lower lobe pneumonia with a large left pleural effusion (Fig. 1). Laboratory tests showed marked leukocytosis with a left shift. Blood cultures were negative, but nasopharyngeal swabs were positive for influenza A H1 and H3.

Fig. 1
figure 1

Left lower lobe pneumonia with large pleural effusion

The etiology of pneumonia with extensive pleural effusion includes bacteria, with S. pneumoniae, S. aureus and H. influenzae being the most frequent pathogens, followed by viral agents, atypical bacteria, and, rarely, malignancy. Influenza A and RSV are the most common causes of viral pneumonia, followed by adenovirus, parainfluenza virus, and influenza B [1]. Pneumonia occurs in a minority of patients with influenza (3–16%) [2]. Pleural effusion, while likely to develop in at least 40% of patients with bacterial pneumonias [3], is a rare complication of influenza pneumonia [2]. Bacterial coinfection is the most common complication of influenza pneumonia and occurs in up to 20% of cases [2]. This child had a high probability of having a bacterial coinfection. His late presentation precluded treatment with adamantanes or neuraminidase inhibitors.

References

  1. Marcos MA, Esperatti M, Torres M (2009) Viral pneumonia. Curr Opin in Infect Dis 22:143–147

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Lahti E, Peltola V, Virkki R, Ruuskanen O (2006) Influenza pneumonia. Ped Infect Dis J 25(2):160–164

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Sinaniotis CA, Sinaniotis AC (2005) Community-acquired pneumonia in children. Curr Opin in Pulm Med 11:218–225

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Norma L. Cooney.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0 ), which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Cooney, N.L., Cooney, D.R. & Kloss, B. Pediatric presentation of pulmonic effusion secondary to influenza. Int J Emerg Med 2, 259 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12245-009-0120-0

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12245-009-0120-0

Keywords

  • Influenza
  • Pleural Effusion
  • Adamantanes
  • Bacterial Pneumonia
  • Neuraminidase Inhibitor