Radiographic features of 71 patients (48 men, 23 women) with nosocomial Legionella pneumophila pneumonia were assessed and compared with those of other nosocomial series of L pneumophila pneumonia. Sixteen patients were assessed retrospectively and 55 prospectively. Chest radiographs were assessed at the onset of the illness, 10 days later, and at 3 months. Erythromycin was given to 67 patients at the time of the diagnosis and to the remaining four at a later stage. Forty eight patients were over the age of 60. On the initial chest radiograph 53 of the 71 patients had unilateral shadowing (23 of them in the right lung); 35 had unilobar shadowing and the remaining 36 had more than one affected lobe. Pleural effusion was present in 24 cases and cavitation in 2. One patient had evidence of a pericardial effusion. At 10 days 21 patients had evidence of radiographic progression (14 ipsilateral), but 28 had improved. At 3 months 36 patients had an abnormal radiograph, 30 showing residual scarring, 15 loss of volume, six pleural shadows and two cavitation. Our series shows a lesser incidence of unilateral shadowing and pleural effusion than other nosocomial series and a lesser tendency to progression, but more patients had radiographic abnormalities at long term follow up.
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