Tuberculosis & Pneumonia Terminology

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  • 0:00 The Combining Form of Pneumo
  • 0:28 Pneumonia
  • 3:18 Tuberculosis
  • 4:27 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson will discuss specific terminology related to tuberculosis and mainly pneumonia. We'll look at the words pneumo-, bronchopneumonia, lobar pneumonia, aspiration pneumonia, and more.

The Combining Form of Pneumo

Ever heard of a pneumatic pump? They're pumps that use pressurized air to do their job. The reason they are called this is because of the combining form of pneumo-, which stands for air, gas, or lungs.

This combining form will be used a billion times this lesson as we go over a bunch of terms related to pneumonia, and while we're on the subject of infectious lung disease, we'll also discuss tuberculosis at the end of this lesson.


Pneumonia is inflammation of the lungs that is caused by infectious organisms or chemical or physical irritants. In pneumonia, the suffix of '-ia' implies a disease or abnormal condition. And thus, pneumonia literally stands for 'lung disease' because, once again, pneumo- is a combining form that denotes the lungs. And because pneumonia affects a person's ability to exchange oxygen properly, it's only fitting pneumo- also refers to gas or air in reference to this problem.

In this condition, the alveoli, the air sacs of the lungs where gas exchange occurs, become inflamed and fill with liquid. Just like you find it difficult, or shall we say impossible, to breathe underwater, when the alveoli are submerged under a liquid, they also fail to breathe for you.

There are many different kinds of pneumonia; some are named for the areas of the lungs they affect while others are named for the underlying cause of the pneumonia.

Bronchopneumonia is a form of pneumonia that affects the walls of the bronchioles and the surrounding alveoli. In bronchopneumonia, 'bronch/o' is a combining form that refers to the bronchial tubes.

Lobar pneumonia refers to pneumonia that affects one or more lobes of the lungs. The lobes of the lungs are the five major sections of the lungs. The right lung has three lobes while the left lung has two lobes.

There's also aspiration pneumonia, pneumonia caused by an inhaled foreign substance. Aspiration, in this context, is a term for the inhalation of a foreign substance into the respiratory tract. For instance, let's say a person who is really drunk passes out and is lying on their back. If they vomit, they may inhale that vomit into their lungs, causing aspiration pneumonia. Thus the need to place such a person on their side to try to prevent them from inhaling their own vomit. Aspiration pneumonia can easily be deadly.

As I said not too long ago, pneumonia can also be named for its infectious causes:

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