Fire-eater's pneumonia characterized by pneumatocele formation and spontaneous resolution

Diagn Interv Radiol. 2010 Sep;16(3):201-3. doi: 10.4261/1305-3825.DIR.1591-07.1. Epub 2009 Oct 5.


Liquid hydrocarbons derived from petroleum are widely used in industry and in households. Aspiration of massive amounts may lead to an acute and fatal form of exogenous lipoid pneumonia (fire-eater's pneumonia). We present a rare case of chemical pneumonitis following accidental lamp oil aspiration characterized by pneumatocele formation and spontaneous resolution. Initial findings on posteroanterior chest radiographs were smoothly circumscribed lower zone masses with and without air-fluid levels. Chest computed tomography also showed multiple thin-walled cavities with and without air-fluid levels. Complete resolution of findings despite initial severe presentation without corticosteroid or antibiotic treatment is noteworthy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Fires*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pneumonia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pneumonia / etiology
  • Pneumonia, Aspiration / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pneumonia, Aspiration / drug therapy
  • Pneumonia, Aspiration / etiology
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Analgesics