Blood tests or cultures. Blood tests may help tell if you have antibodies to a specific organism that can cause pneumonia or if you have a specific virus, such as influenza (flu) or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Doctors can use blood cultures to test for bacteria in your bloodstream.
Oximetry. An oximeter can estimate the amount of oxygen in your blood. A sensor in a cuff or clip is placed on the end of your finger. This sensor measures how much oxygen is in your blood. The oximeter machine shows the result.
Arterial blood gases. This test can measure the levels of oxygen in a sample of blood drawn from your artery. Doctors use this test to find out whether enough oxygen is getting into your bloodstream from your lungs.
Bronchoscopy. This is a visual examination of the tubes leading to your lungs. This test is usually done by a respirologist (lung specialist). The doctor inserts a small, lighted device through your nose or mouth into the tubes leading to your lungs. During the procedure, the doctor can obtain samples of tissue, fluid, or mucus.
Transtracheal mucus cultures (rarely done). These tests are performed on a mucus sample obtained directly from your windpipe (trachea).
Lung biopsy. This test is done on a very small piece of lung tissue. It looks for conditions such as lung cancer or fibrous tissue in the lungs (pulmonary fibrosis). Your doctor obtains lung tissue by inserting a needle into your chest between two ribs or by using bronchoscopy.
Thoracentesis. This test involves puncturing the chest wall to obtain fluid from the space around the lungs. Fluid obtained during the test can be checked for signs of infection or cancer.
Computed tomography (CT) scan. A CT scan uses X-rays to produce detailed pictures of structures inside your body. It may be used in people who aren't responding to their treatment.
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
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