Aspiration pneumonia

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Aspiration pneumonia represents the inflammation of the lungs and airways of the lungs (bronchi), after inhalation of foreign material (usually food, liquids, vomit or fluid) through the mouth or airways leading to lungs.

This may have consequences: lung abscess, lung inflammation, pneumonia.


1. Overview
2. Causes
3. Symptoms
4. Aspiration pneumonia control
5. Treatment


Risk factors for aspiration or inhaled foreign material into the lungs are:

- decreased alertness, the effect of certain medications, due to illness or other reasons
- coma
- diseases of the esophagus (the tube that moves food from the mouth to the stomach) – gastroesophageal reflux
- overdose of alcohol
- anesthetics
- old age
- pharyngeal reflux is low in people who are in a state of semi-consciousness or unconscious after a stroke or brain damage
- problems with swallowing
- acidic substances are aspirated from the stomach into the throat and into the lungs, which can cause severe lung damage. However, they do not always trigger pneumonia.


The manifestations of aspiration pneumonia include:

- blue color of the skin caused by lack of oxygen
- chest pain
- cough
- phlegm or sputum odor
- sputum containing pus or blood
- greenish sputum
- fatigue
- fever
- shortness of breath
- wheezing

Other symptoms that may accompany this disease are:

- bad breath
- excessive sweating
- difficulty swallowing.

Aspiration pneumonia control

1. Inform yourself and be aware of symptoms of aspiration pneumonia because it is one of the most dangerous complications associated with pulmonary aspiration. Pulmonary infection is caused by the presence of foreign liquids into the lungs.

If you find that sputum is foul-smelling or greenish, the cough is accompanied by pus or blood, chest pains and bluish skin, see your doctor for antibiotics.

2. Try to diminish the dangers associated with swallowing problems and pulmonary aspiration. Avoid foods and medicines that are difficult to swallow. Seek the help of a therapist for advice if you have swallowing disorders.

The specialist may observe your problems and will learn you how to swallow properly. Treatment may include exercises that will involve the correct position of the tongue and throat during swallowing. Depending on the severity of pulmonary aspiration different methods of feeding may be necessary.

3. Follow carefully the preoperative instructions. One of the most serious types of pulmonary aspiration occurs when stomach acid substances vacuum in the throat and then into the lungs. Follow your doctor’s instructions strictly related to the consumption of food and fluids before having surgery.


Treatment will depend on the severity of pneumonia. The doctor can prescribe antibiotics that will treat the bacteria present in the mouth. Type of bacteria that can cause pneumonia depends on:

- general health
- where you live
- if you were recently hospitalized
- recent use of antibiotics.

The doctor may need to test your swallowing function. Patients who have trouble swallowing should use different feeding methods that will reduce the risk of aspiration.



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