Among non-medical professionals, when someone is diagnosed with pneumonia, it’s generally just that — pneumonia is pneumonia. But that’s just a broad label for a life-threatening infection of the lungs. There are multiple causes for the disease, and by some measures, as many as 30 types of pneumonia, although they fall under larger groups.
Given SSCOR’s focus on designing and manufacturing industry-leading products to clear patients’ airways, our devices and tools are useful in preventing or treating many forms of pneumonia — especially for the common and serious aspiration pneumonia.
Read on for a breakdown of the different types of pneumonia and how our suction devices can help.
The most common bacteria to cause pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae, though there are several others that do so, and the type of bacteria can determine the health care provider’s treatment decisions. These bacteria are generally spread person-to-person (community-acquired pneumonia) and quite frequently occur in hospitals or health care facilities where patients are being treated for pneumonia (health care-associated pneumonia).
Bacterial pneumonia can be caught by breathing it into the lungs, but the number of bacteria the patient inhales, the specific bacteria and the patient’s age can determine whether and how seriously they are infected. Older and younger patients — each of whom have weaker immune systems — are more susceptible to bacterial pneumonia. (These factors come into play regarding the other pathogens that cause pneumonia.)
Aspiration pneumonia occurs when a person unintentionally breaths in harmful, pneumonia- causing bacteria that was present on or in food, saliva, vomit or other particulates. A patient who is unconscious, has difficulty swallowing or has a blockage in their airway is at risk of this, which makes suctioning so vital during an airway emergency. SSCOR’s hospital and EMS suction devices, as well as suction tips and catheters, are designed to swiftly and safely remove dangerous particulates from a patient’s airway, helping to prevent potential aspiration pneumonia.
Common respiratory viruses can cause pneumonia, including influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and even SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). During non-pandemic years, viral pneumonia was more common during the fall and winter, when flu season is at its peak.
Although all forms of pneumonia share common symptoms, such as a cough, fever, labored breathing and increased mucus production, viral pneumonia may be slower to form these indications, often beginning with a simple cough. A clearer distinguishing feature is when breathing sounds are not clear on either side of the chest, whereas bacterial pneumonia typically affects one lobe or one section of the lungs.
As the name implies, fungal pneumonia is a lung infection caused by inhalation of spores of certain fungi — some of the most common being Pneumocystis, Cryptococcus and Aspergillus, although many fungi can cause an infection and create varying symptoms that make diagnoses difficult. Overall, symptoms between different types of fungal pneumonia are homogenous, but treatment can take months and long-term damage is possible, depending on the fungi involved.
Where we help
With prompt and careful attention, pneumonia is treatable, and there are even effective
vaccines for viral strains. However, an exacerbation of symptoms can result in an emergency scenario which may require suctioning the mucus or fluid buildup in the airway.
Both versions of the SSCOR VX-2 portable suction unit, which are equipped with battery maintenance systems, enable medical professionals to clear and protect patients’ airways, rescue choking and aspirating patients, and help responders tend to patients without moving them. This equipment is also lightweight enough for use during bedside treatments.
Additionally, the SALAD (Suction Assisted Laryngoscopy and Airway Decontamination)
technique, which is specially developed to prepare the airway ahead of intubation, can be implemented more easily with the SSCOR DuCanto Catheter.
Pneumonia is a complicated disease with potentially fatal consequences if not treated correctly, but with enough knowledge and the right tools, medical personnel can make a significant difference in their patient’s life.