About Intestinal Pneumonia and How to Cure It

Intestinal Pneumonia is a rare condition that can be described as an unusual intestinal pathology characterized by gas cysts in the wall of gastrointestinal tract. The disease is induced from an underlying condition such as autoimmune disease, pulmonary disease,  drugs, immunosuppressant, transplants, neoplasm or traumatic and mechanical effects. The cyst just quoted is found near blood vessels on the antimesentric border. There are basically two types of intestinal pneumonia namely primary and secondary. While primary comes from autonomous disease, secondary intestinal pneumonia is frequent and is more associated with underlying conditions that crops from mucosal of the intestines being damaged.

Although the primary intestinal pneumonia is rare many diseases are related to it including surgical anastomosis, inflammation, auto- immune, mixed connective tissue disease, carcinoma and sclerosis. Immune compromise can facilitate the bacteria to invade the intramural compartments. However, to date there has not been a single incident or report on pneumocyst bacteria in human. So, this theory explaining intestinal pneumonia still faces controversies. Though it faces critics, the scholars suggest usage of therapeutic results of antibiotic usage such as metronidazole which is a breakthrough in the treatment of the disease.

Another theory is based on the alveolar rupture that explains the air in vascular channels is dissected in the mediastinum moving to the retroperitoneum and then to the bowel.  Scholars of this theory emphasize on subserol presence of air that comes across due to constant gas migration to vessels rather than transmural infiltration.

A woman having acute abdominal pain was treated by prescribing her with 15gms of corticosteroids a day. During the third attack period she was given 500mg metronidazole for three days and the good news followed when the patient was discharged on the 10th day and prescribed further to prophylaxis antibiotic with metronidazole for the next 6 weeks.

Symptoms of intestinal pneumonia

The symptoms vary from asymptomatic patients to life threatening signs and symptoms that can seem complicated such as bowel ischemia and perforation. Other mild symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pains
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Flatus distension
  • Rapid Weight loss
  • Bleeding of ileum

The symptoms are never a simple argument either, it was first thought that the symptoms were a result of mechanical effects of the cyst but later studies showed that indeed it was not. The secondary intestinal pneumonia (underlying disorder) is what is necessarily associated with clinical manifestation of intestinal pneumonia and not intramural gas in the gastrointestinal tract.


With the technological advancement, use of computer tomography help in the diagnosis and treatment since it gives better sensitivity than plain films and ultra sound. The use of antibiotics to be specific the metronidazole in high concentrates has shown to be effective. Exposure to oxygen therapy is another way to heal intestinal pneumonia. Oxygen is pressurized as high as 350mmHg. This helps oxygen cyst to be converted to blood diffusion thus increased reabsorption of gas cyst (carbon monoxide and nitrogen).

Last words

It is clear now that this disease is quite rare but it shouldn’t make you special either. The cause in the majority is an underlying condition. As discussed above concerning the theories explaining it, intestinal pneumonia prediction is still unclear not because of lack of proper research, but because the explained mechanism are several yet convincing. The big challenge therefore remains to surgeons on determining the right decisions to make to a patient. They should however now that intestinal pneumonia can be managed easily without an operation lest it worsen the condition further.  In conclusion, the patient clinical state and findings should be taken into consideration and surgery taken for patient showing bowel perforation, abdominal sepsis, and peritonitis.

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