Acute aspiration of petroleum or other hydrocarbon products can cause a distinct type of chemical pneumonitis known as fire-eater’s pneumonia. Initial findings on chest X-rays are ambiguous and not uniform in nature. Among the most common belong mottled or patchy, local or diffuse perihilar and basal uni- or bilateral infiltrates, areas of atelectasis, tumor-like lesions and rarely pleural effusions. CT finding often shows formation of smaller or larger pneumatoceles. Those cavities tend to regress spontaneously over weeks or months. Clinical diagnosis is sometimes very difficult, especially in cases, when past history of „fire-eating“ is not known to the physician. The authors present clinical manifestation, sequential X-ray and CT findings in one patient with fire-eater’s pneumonia. To diagnose the disease, not only paraclinical exploration is needed, but also the patient’s past history plays an important role. Without it this puzzling clinical unit can remain undiagnosed.
fire-eater’s pneumonia, chemical pneumonitis, pneumatocele, aspiration, computed tomography.