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Pulmonary defense mechanisms

mechanical barriers and non-specific immune mechanisms


a mechanical barrier that traps most large airborne particles due to the presence of turbinates, which cause the airflow in the nose to be of turbulent type (>5 microns)

Mucociliary Blanket

a mechanical barrier that is the lining of the epithelium which is composed of mucus type material that traps mid sized particles, and this mucus is moved outward by continuous movement of cilia (3-5 microns)


a mechanical barrier which helps to clear aspirated or inhaled particles as well as airway mucus

Alveolar macrophages

an immune defense mechanism that are the most important phagocytic cells in the lung which serve to protect the lung from injuries by small particles and microorganisms (<3 microns)


an immune defense mechanism that is important in defense against bacteria and fungi


an immune defense mechanism that protects the lungs against the harmful injuries of toxic gases and pollutants

Congenital Anomalies

abnormalities than involve incomplete of defective of part of or entire lung that can be asymptomatic or mild and can lead to moderate or severe respiratory distress. The severity of symptoms depends on the side of the abnormality.

Pulmonary Hypoplasia

a congenital anomaly in which the normally lung does not fully form; genes that turn off growth in-utero get turned on too early. Can be an entire lung, can be just part of the lung, or can be a generalized incorrect formation.

Bronchial Atresia

a congenital anomaly in which a segmental bronchus does not communicate with the central airways

Bronchogenic Cyst

a congenital anomaly in which an intra-pulmonary or extra-pulmonary growth without alveoli, normal ventilation, or gas exchange. Symptoms of cough and dyspnea are related to the location. Complications including infection and bleeding can occur. Intrapulmonary is more likely to get infected.


a very uncommon congenital anomaly in which a little lung develops outside or inside of the normal lung; doesn't have normal tissue or a connection to the airway. Generally has a systemic circulation form the aorta directly, and can cause bleeding or infections. Most of the time the symptoms are really minimal.


a viral infection of the airway that involves predominantly peripheral airways that is typically seen in children.


an airway infection that involves the central airway that is more commonly seen in adults; can be viral or bacterial. Main symptoms are cough, sputum, and fever.


a bronchial obstruction becomes complete and causes collapse of lung tissue distal to the area of obstruction. Obstructions in kids are generally foreign bodies, in adults they are foreign bodies and sometimes tumors


permanent dilation of the airway secondary to destruction of the elastic and muscular elements of the bronchial wall. This can be congenital or secondary to obstruction or infection.


infection of the pulmonary parenchyma which can be caused by bacteria, fungi, and other organisms.

Community-acquired pneumonia

occurs in patients outside the hospital. upper airway is colonized by the infectious organism, the organism is aspirated into the lungs, parenchymal inflammation results. Generally affects those with impaired immune systems.

Nosocomial Pneumonia

occurs in patients who are already hospitalized and is caused by organisms prevalent in hospital environments


an infection in the pleural space which can complicate a lung abscess or pneumonia

streptococcus pneumoniae

the organism causing most community acquired pneumonias

Mycoplasma pneumonia

community acquired pneumonia that causes gradual onset of respiratory symptoms and bronchopneumonia that is typically seen in young adults

Legionella Pneumonia

a pneumonia that can be community acquired or nosocomial that spreads through water environments and causes multi-lobular involvement and bronchopneumonia

Fungal Pneumonia

can be either community acquired in a normal host, or acquired in an immune compromised host


a fungal pneumonia seen in the midwest caused by a fungi growing in most vegetation. Symptoms range from minor to life-threatening, and the parenchyma and lymph nodes are involved.

Opportunistic Pneumonia

occurs in immuno-compromised hosts and usually involved an organism that would not otherwise infect the individual. Can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other organisms

Pneumocystis carnii pneumonia

PCP. Occurs in the immune compromised host and has symptoms that range from minimal to severe progressive respiratory failure. Treatments include antibiotics, corticosteroids, and supportive care.

Pulmonary Aspergillosis

seen in patients with sever neutropenia and other immune compromised states. It manifests by diffuse nodular lesions which frequently cavitate and invade the pulmonary blood vessels; often fatal.

Pneumococcal Vaccine

very effective in preventing or significantly reducing the severity of pneumococcal pneumonia. Patients with chronic medical problem and those above age 65 should receive this vaccine.

Lung Abscess

the accumulation of pus in an area of destroyed lung parenchyma. Typically caused by anaerobes aspirated from the mouth and upper airway. Poor dental hygiene and alcoholism are the main risk factors.


coughing up blood

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