Lipoid (lipid) pneumonia

D.J. Hendrick

in Oxford Textbook of Medicine

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780199204854
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199570973 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks

Lipoid (lipid) pneumonia

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  • Respiratory Medicine and Pulmonology


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Lipids that accumulate within airways and alveolae are difficult to remove and may lead to an inflammatory response. Exogenous lipid can be aspirated in those with impaired swallowing mechanisms who take or are given agents such as olive oil or paraffin, or can be inhaled from oil aerosols/mists. Endogenous lipid can (rarely) be deposited when chronic inflammation accompanies some cause of localized bronchial obstruction. Presentation is with a chronic ‘pneumonic’ illness or asymptomatic radiographic abnormality, when appearances may closely simulate bronchial carcinoma. Demonstration of lipid material within pulmonary secretions or alveolar macrophages obtained from sputum or bronchoalveolar lavage is diagnostic. If treatment is needed, therapeutic bronchoalveolar lavage may remove substantial quantities of lipid from the alveoli; episodes of secondary bacterial infection require antibiotic treatment....

Chapter.  1325 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Respiratory Medicine and Pulmonology

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