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Lung Abscess


A lung abscess is a pus-filled area in your lung tissue that is caused by a bacterial infection. A lung abscess can form after you accidentally inhale food or liquid into your lungs. A mouth infection, a weak immune system, or heart problems may increase your risk for a lung abscess. A severe lung abscess may spread and become life-threatening.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


Antibiotics help treat a bacterial infection in your lungs.


  • Blood tests may show which type of bacteria is in your lung. This will help your healthcare provider know which medicine to use to treat your lung abscess.
  • An x-ray, ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan may be used to show the location of your lung abscess. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about these or other tests you may need.
  • A bronchoscopy may be used to find which type of bacteria is causing your infection. A sample of lung tissue will be taken to test the type of bacteria. Your healthcare provider may also use the test to find problems that increase your risk for infection.


  • Chest physiotherapy is treatment to help clear fluid from your lung and increase blood flow. A healthcare provider will tap on your chest and back to help loosen fluid in your lungs. He will also place you in different positions to exercise your lung and loosen fluids. This will help you cough out excess fluid from your lung so it can heal.
  • Percutaneous drainage is a procedure that uses a catheter to remove excess fluid from your lung. Your healthcare provider will use an ultrasound to insert a catheter through your skin and into your lung.


Your lung abscess may grow and become harder to treat. It could spread to other organs, including your brain. You may cough up blood, or your lung could collapse. These conditions can become life-threatening.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Lung Abscess (Inpatient Care)

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Further information

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