Chronic and recurrent pneumonias in children

Semin Respir Infect. 2002 Mar;17(1):72-84. doi: 10.1053/srin.2002.31693.


The diagnosis and management of chronic and recurrent pneumonia in children may present a significant challenge for the primary care physician. Successful management depends on a careful evaluation of each episode, with a complete review of all available chest radiographs. Timing, location, and prodromes to recurrence can all provide important clues to the etiology of infection. Infiltrates that recur in a single lobe or segment of the lung may be caused by local airway obstruction, or by anatomic abnormalities of the lung itself. Pneumonias that occur in varied locations, or affect more than one lobe, suggest the presence of a more generalized abnormality, such as swallow dysfunction or aspiration, immunodeficiency or asthma. The pattern, frequency of recurrence, and severity of the infections can guide the practitioner in choosing the diagnostic studies most likely to identify an underlying etiology for recurrent episodes of pneumonia. With diligence and patience, most children with recurrent lower respiratory disease can be treated effectively.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Decision Trees
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lung / abnormalities
  • Pneumonia* / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia* / etiology
  • Pneumonia* / therapy
  • Recurrence
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / complications
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / diagnosis
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / therapy


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents