What is typical community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) and what is its clinical presentation?

Updated: Oct 31, 2019
  • Author: Stephanie L Baer, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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The term “typical” CAP refers to a bacterial pneumonia caused by pathogens such as S pneumoniae, H influenzae, and M catarrhalis. Patients with typical CAP classically present with fever, a productive cough with purulent sputum, dyspnea, and pleuritic chest pain. Characteristic pulmonary findings on physical examination include the following:

  • Tachypnea
  • Rales heard over the involved lobe or segment
  • Increased tactile fremitus, bronchial breath sounds, and egophony may be present if consolidation has occurred.
  • Decreased tactile fremitus and dullness on chest percussion may result from parapneumonic effusion or empyema.

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