Evaluation of persistent pneumonia and percutaneous needle aspiration of lung as a tool in the etiological evaluation of children with persistent pneumonia

Srinivasan Govindaraj, Perumalpillai Santhakumaran, Sivaraman Thirumalaikumarasamy


Background: Persistent pneumonia contributes to a significant proportion of morbidity and mortality due to lower respiratory tract infections. Very few studies have been done in this field worldwide. The present study was aimed at diagnosis of children with persistent pneumonia and the use of percutaneous transthoracic needle aspiration of the lung as a tool in the etiological evaluation.

Methods: A descriptive study was designed to study the children of one month to twelve years of age with persistent pneumonia admitted in various units and the Department of pulmonology, Institute of child health and hospital for children (ICH and HC), Egmorebetween January 2004-March 2006. The study sample was also obtained from other pediatric teaching hospitals in the city by informing them in advance regarding the nature and aim of study.

Results: The common complaints in the children were cough, fever, breathlessness, irritability, poor feeding and failure to thrive. The common clinical features were fever, tachypnea, dyspnea and the presence of crackes on auscultation. Malnutrition was found to be a common accompaniment. Lung aspiration revealed a specific bacterial etiology in 32% of the cases and identified one case of tuberculosis which was not detected in other earlier investigations. This procedure is a simple and the most direct way of obtaining a specimen from lung parenchyma without the risk of contamination from other floras.

Conclusions: The lung aspiration should be done if the advantage of a specific etiologic diagnosis outweighs the small risk associated with the procedure. 


Lung aspiration, Malnutrition, Persistent pneumonia, Percutaneous transthoracic needle

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