Legionnaires' disease can lead to a number of life-threatening complications, including:

  • Respiratory failure. This occurs when the lungs are no longer able to provide the body with enough oxygen or can't remove enough carbon dioxide from the blood.
  • Septic shock. This occurs when a severe, sudden drop in blood pressure reduces blood flow to vital organs, especially to the kidneys and brain. The heart tries to compensate by increasing the volume of blood pumped, but the extra workload eventually weakens the heart and reduces blood flow even further.
  • Acute kidney failure. This is the sudden loss of your kidneys' ability to perform their main function — filtering waste material from your blood. When your kidneys fail, dangerous levels of fluid and waste accumulate in your body.

When not treated effectively and promptly, Legionnaires' disease may be fatal, especially if your immune system is weakened by disease or medications.

Jan. 02, 2014