Lung infections

Treatment of lung infections is based on the administration of antibiotics for bacterial infections (pneumonia), or antifungals for mycotic infections (aspergillosis). Under certain conditions, such as antibiotic resistance, surgery may be necessary to remove the diseased part.

Three types of lung infections are commonly treated by the Thoracic and Endocrine Surgery Division: 

  • Tuberculosis
  • Aspergillosis
  • Bronchiectasis

In which cases is tuberculosis surgery useful? 

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium, called mycobacterium or Koch's bacillus. The discovery and use of antibiotics significantly reduced the rate of tuberculosis in the 1950s. Following the appearance of bacterial strains resistant to antibiotics, this contagious disease has reappeared in Western countries in recent decades. Today, tuberculosis kills nearly two million people per year worldwide. Treatment essentially consists of taking several medications over a long period of time.

Learn more: Tuberculosis - Swiss Lung Association

Surgery is used primarily to take samples that are required for the diagnosis. Very rarely, removal of a part of the diseased lung is considered in case of resistance to antibiotics, fungal infections, lesions or hemorrhages caused by tuberculosis.

Surgical treatment  of aspergilloma

Aspergillosis is a fungal infection of the lung.It can be invasive (invading all the lung tissue) or take the form of aspergilloma (a mass that develops elsewhere). Invasive aspergillosis usually occurs in patients whose immune system is weakened.

One of the very serious complications of aspergilloma is bronchial hemorrhage (hemoptysis). Surgery is indicated to prevent fatal hemorrhages and to contain the progression of aspergillosis.

Surgical treatment of bronchiectasis

Bronchiectasis is abnormal dilation of the bronchi. They become filled with stagnant secretions and become prone to infection. Bronchiectasis is usually treated with antibiotics. If the bronchiectasis degenerates and spreads to a whole lung segment, resection of the affected area is recommended. Rupture of a vessel inside the bronchus is a frequent complication of the disease. If this occurs, lung resection is indicated.

For more information on surgical treatment and hospitalization, please visit the website of the Lung Surgery Unit.

Last update : 15/08/2019