Dictionary Definition

bronchopneumonia n : pneumonia characterized by acute inflammation of the walls of the bronchioles [syn: bronchial pneumonia]

Extensive Definition

Bronchopneumonia (also known as lobular pneumonia) is a type of pneumonia characterized by multiple foci of isolated, acute consolidation, affecting one or more pulmonary lobes. It is one of two types of bacterial pneumonia as classified by gross anatomic distribution of consolidation (solidification), the other being lobar pneumonia.

General Description

In bacterial pneumonia, invasion of the lung parenchyma by bacteria produces an inflammatory immune response. This response leads to a filling of the alveolar sacs with exudate. The loss of air space and its replacement with fluid is called consolidation. In bronchopneumonia, or lobular pneumonia, there are multiple foci of isolated, acute consolidation, affecting one or more pulmonary lobes.
It should be noted that although these two patterns of pneumonia, lobar and lobular, are the classic anatomic categories of bacterial pneumonia, in clinical practice the types are difficult to apply, as the patterns usually overlap. Bronchopneumonia (lobular) often leads to lobar pneumonia as the infection progresses. The same organism may cause one type of pneumonia in one patient, and another in a different patient. From the clinical standpoint, far more important than distinguishing the anatomical subtype of pneumonia, is identifying its causative agent and accurately assessing the extent of the disease. The infection that killed Indian rock musician Freddie Mercury of Queen was brought on by HIV/AIDS.


Macroscopically: Multiple foci of consolidation are present in the basal lobes of the human lung, often bilateral. These lesions are 2-4 cm in diameter, grey-yellow, dry, often centered on a bronchiole, are poorly delimited and have the tendency to confluence, especially in children.
Microscopically: A focus of inflammatory condensation is centered on a bronchiole with acute bronchiolitis (suppurative exudate - pus - in the lumen and parietal inflammation). Alveolar lumens surrounding the bronchiole are filled with neutrophils ("leukocytic alveolitis"). Massive congestion is present. Inflammatory foci are separated by normal, aerated parenchyma. Photos at: 1


Abbas, Abul K, Kumar, Vinay and Fausto, Nelson. Robbins and Coltran Pathologic Basis of Disease, 7th ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders, 2005.

External links

bronchopneumonia in Bulgarian: Бронхопневмония
bronchopneumonia in Portuguese: Broncopneumonia
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