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Ann Thorac Med. 2007 Oct;2(4):163-5. doi: 10.4103/1817-1737.36551.

Varicella pneumonia in adults: 13 years' experience with review of literature.

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Department of Medicine, Security Forces Hospital, Riyadh 11613, P.O Box 90068, Saudi Arabia.


Pneumonia is a serious complication of varicella infection in adults. This study investigates the clinical characteristics in 19 patients admitted to our hospital with diagnosis of Varicella pneumonia.


A retrospective chart review study was performed in adult patients admitted with diagnosis of Varicella pneumonia over 13 years (1992-2005). The study documented the clinical characteristics, laboratory investigations, hospital course, complications, treatment received and the outcomes.


Nineteen patients were identified with a mean age of 41 (+/-15.4). All were males except two. Eleven patients (58%) were smokers. Eleven patients (58%) had direct contact with persons with chickenpox infection. One patient had underlying chronic pulmonary disease (sarcoidosis). Sixteen patients (84%) were admitted to the intensive care unit due to respiratory failure; eight of them required mechanical ventilation. The mean duration of ICU stay was 4.4 days. All patients were treated with acyclovir and i.v. antibiotics. Three patients received i.v. steroid. There was one death.


Patients with Varicella pneumonia are at high risk for respiratory failure and the need for mechanical ventilation. However, early implementation of supportive therapy seems to positively influence the recovery rate and outcome.


Outcome; pneumonia; varicella

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