Aspiration Pneumonia

Chest | Pulmonology | Aspiration Pneumonia (Disease)


Aspiration pneumonia is bronchopneumonia that develops due to the entrance of foreign materials into the bronchial tree, usually oral or gastric contents (including food, saliva, or nasal secretions). This may lead to: a collection of pus in the lungs (lung abscess), swelling and inflammation in the lung or lung infection (pneumonia).

Symptoms: bluish discoloration of the skin caused by lack of oxygen; chest pain; cough (with foul - smelling phlegm – sputum, with sputum containing pus or blood, with greenish sputum); fatigue; fever; shortness of breath; wheezing. Other symptoms that can occur with this disease: breath odor, excessive sweating and swallowing difficulty.

Causes and Risk factors

Aspiration pneumonia is often caused by an incompetent swallowing mechanism, such as occurs in some forms of neurological disease or injury including multiple sclerosis, CVA (stroke) or intoxication.

Risk factors for aspiration or breathing in of foreign material into the lungs are: being less alert due to medicines, illness, or other reasons; coma; disorders of the esophagus, the tube that moves food from the mouth to the stomach (esophageal stricture, gastroesophageal reflux); drinking large amounts of alcohol; medicine to put you into a deep sleep for surgery (general anesthesia); old age. When bacteria are involved, they are usually of the aerobic: Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Aspiration pneumonia is typically diagnosed by a combination of clinical circumstances, radiologic findings (right lower lobe pneumonia) and microbiologic cultures.

Treatment depends on the severity of the pneumonia. You may receive antibiotics, which treat bacteria. Some people may get special antibiotics to treat bacteria that live in the mouth. Patients who have trouble swallowing may need to use other feeding methods to reduce the risk of aspiration. ...

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