After a surgical intervention patient can face pulmonary complication that was formerly recognised as
postoperative pneumonia. This term described the clinical picture which was diagnosed after abdominal
or thoracic operations, after polytraumatic lesions, especially with elderly patients that were for a longer
time confined to bed rest. The clinical symptoms incl. the X ray picture were consistent with those of
pneumonia - such pneumonias are nowadays classified as nosocomial infections. These complications
sometimes ended fatally. The post-mortem examination revealed either pneumonia or often pulmonary
thromboembolism (PTE). Occasionally it happened that PTE was incorrectly clinically diagnosed as
pneumonia and the patient was treated with antibiotics instead of with heparin. The present paper brings
discussion on the differential diagnosis between postoperative nosocomial pneumonia and PTE. Clinical
casuistic is also added.
nosocomial pneumonia, postoperative pneumonia, inhalation pneumonia, pneumonia in
surgery, pulmonary thromboembolism, thrombophilia.