aspiration pneumonia

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as·pi·ra·tion pneu·mo·ni·a

bronchopneumonia resulting from the inhalation of foreign material, usually food particles or vomit, into the bronchi; pneumonia developing secondary to the presence in the airways of fluid, blood, saliva, or gastric contents.

aspiration pneumonia

an inflammatory condition of the lungs and bronchi caused by inhaling foreign material or acidic vomitus. Compare bronchopneumonia. See also pneumonia.
observations Aspiration pneumonia may occur during anesthesia or recovery from anesthesia or during a seizure of acute alcoholic intoxication or other condition characterized by vomiting and a decreased level of consciousness. Patients receiving enteral feeding therapies may also be at risk.
interventions Treatment consists of prompt suctioning of the bronchi and administration of 100% oxygen. Continued artificial ventilation may be required. As long as oxygen is administered, frequent analyses of blood gas levels may be indicated. Corticosteroids may be given to diminish inflammation. The sputum is cultured regularly, and any bacterial infection thus diagnosed is treated with an appropriate antibiotic.
nursing considerations The pulse rate and quality of respirations, level of consciousness, and skin color are carefully monitored. An oral airway is left in place until the patient's condition improves, and secretions are removed by suction as necessary. Infection and respiratory failure are frequent complications. Aspiration pneumonia may be prevented by positioning unconscious patients with the head elevated 15 to 30 degrees and turned to the side and by paying careful attention to the maintenance of enteral feeding therapy and an adequate airway.
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Aspiration pneumonia

aspiration pneumonia

An infectious process characterised by inhalation of colonised oropharyngeal material into the respiratory tract, which most commonly occurs in patients with impaired sensorium.

• Hospital acquired—Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonas, mixed oropharyngeal flora.
• Community acquired—Streptococcus pneumoniae, H influenzae, mixed oropharyngeal flora.

Clinical findings
Progressive respiratory depression, hypoxia, tachypnoea and tachycardia; the tracheobronchial tree “sweats” a thin frothy fluid.

Risk factors
Poor oral hygiene, clouded sensorium (drugs, alcohol, anaesthesia, coma, CVA, seizures), impaired gag reflex (intubation, myopathy, neurologic disorders, tracheostomy, vocal cord paralysis), oesophageal dysfunction (achalasia, strictures, tumours), others (elderly, feeding tube, delayed gastric emptying, critical illness).

Up to 70%.

aspiration pneumonia

Aspiration pneumonitis Pulmonology A condition characterized by the inhalation or inappropriate passage of highly acidic gastric content–food, gastric acid, vomitus-into the respiratory tract, a clinical event most common in the comatose; after the insult, there is progressive respiratory depression, hypoxia, tachypnea, and tachycardia; the tracheobronchial tree 'sweats' thin frothy fluid; lung parenchyma is acutely inflamed, hemorrhagic and edematous with atelectasis and necrosis Mortality Up to 70%. See Gastric aspiration, Pneumonia.

as·pi·ra·tion pneu·mo·nia

(as-pir-ā'shŭn nū-mō'nē-ă)
Bronchopneumonia resulting from the inhalation of foreign material, usually food particles or vomitus, into the bronchi; pneumonia developing secondary to the presence in the airways of fluid, blood, saliva, or gastric contents.

aspiration pneumonia

Pneumonia caused by the inhalation of infected or irritating material, such as vomited stomach contents.


1. the act of inhaling. Pathological aspiration of vomitus or mucus into the respiratory tract may occur when a patient is unconscious or under the effects of a general anesthetic.
2. removal of fluids or gases from a cavity by the aid of suction.

aspiration biopsy
see biopsy.
aspiration pneumonia
is the result of inhalation or aspiration of infected solid or liquid material into the lungs. Large volumes of aspirate cause asphyxia, smaller amounts cause a necrotic or gangrenous pneumonia, in anterior and ventral parts of the lung. There is profound toxemia, cough, gurgling or squeaky rales, and usually an attendant pleurisy producing a friction rub. Called also inhalation pneumonia.


inflammation of the parenchyma of the lung. It is often accompanied by inflammation of the airways and sometimes of the adjoining pleura. Clinically it is manifested by an increase in the rate and depth of respiration at all degrees of severity up to dyspnea. There is also cough, and abnormality of the breath sounds on auscultation. In bacterial pneumonia there is usually a severe toxemia, in viral pneumonia it is usually minor. See also bronchopneumonia, pleuropneumonia.

Arabian foal pneumonia
an inexorably progressive pneumonia of certain Arabian foals born with primary severe combined immunodeficiency in which adenovirus plays a dominant role but is complicated by other microorganisms, particularly Pneumocystis carinii.
aspiration pneumonia
see aspiration pneumonia.
atypical pneumonia
histologically the pneumonia is atypical in that there are no signs of acute inflammation and it is characterized by an exudation of eosinophilic, protein-rich fluid in the alveoli which may become organized to form a hyaline membrane. In animals that survive for several days there is epithelialization of the alveolar walls. In humans there is a primary atypical pneumonia caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae. In animals the best known example is atypical interstitial pneumonia of cattle.
bronchointerstitial pneumonia
the lesions are centered on the bronchioles and a prominent feature is the accumulation of lymphocytes in interstitial tissue; typical of pneumonias caused by aerogenous virus infections, especially myxoviruses.
brooder pneumonia
see brooder pneumonia.
chronic undifferentiated pneumonia of sheep
see enzootic pneumonia.
corynebacterial pneumonia of foals
see corynebacterial pneumonia.
cuffing pneumonia
chronic undifferentiated pneumonia of sheep in which lymphofollicular sheaths around the bronchioles are a feature.
equine cryptococcal pneumonia
see epizootic lymphangitis.
desquamative pneumonia
a chronic pneumonia associated with Mycoplasma spp. and characterized by organization of the exudate within bronchioles and bronchi, and proliferation of the interstitial tissue and epithelium.
desquamative interstitial pneumonia
chronic pneumonia with desquamation of large alveolar cells and thickening of the walls of distal air passages; marked by dyspnea and nonproductive cough.
embolic pneumonia
results from hematogenous spread from an intravascular lesion elsewhere in the body. The best known example is caudal vena caval thrombosis.
endogenous-lipid pneumonia
focal alveolar accumulations of foamy, lipid-filled macrophages which may impede alveolar clearance. Usually an incidental postmortem finding in laboratory rodents, fur-bearing animals and uncommonly cats and dogs.
enzootic pneumonia
see enzootic pneumonia.
fibrinous pneumonia
an acute fulminating pneumonia, often lobar in distribution, characterized by a fibrinous exudate. Fibrinous describes the exudate, not the anatomical distribution so that the term fibrinous pneumonia should not be used interchangeably with lobar pneumonia.
foreign body pneumonia
see aspiration pneumonia.
gangrenous pneumonia
usually an accompaniment of aspiration pneumonia.
giant-cell pneumonia
a secondary lesion in dermatosis vegetans in pigs; lesions marked by the presence of a proliferative giant-cell type of diffuse interstitial pneumonia.
granulomatous pneumonia
has a slow course characterized by granulomatous, not exudative, lesions. Sporadic cases occur in immunodeficient animals. It is a characteristic of tuberculosis and systemic fungal infections, e.g. coccidioidomycosis.
hypostatic pneumonia
caused by pooling of blood and some decrease in viability of the dependent lung in an old, sick or debilitated animal that is in lateral recumbency for a long period. The infection is secondary to hypostasis.
inhalation pneumonia
see aspiration pneumonia.
interstitial pneumonia
pneumonia in which there is diffuse or patchy damage to alveolar septa widely distributed through the lungs. There is an early intra-alveolar exudative phase followed by significant proliferation and enlargement of the alveolar epithelial cells and a thickening of the interstitial tissue. Most interstitial pneumonias in animals are infectious including viral, bacterial, fungal and protozoal causes, but may be caused by chemical injury, acute pancreatitis or shock, as in acute respiratory distress syndrome.
lipid pneumonia
a specific type of aspiration pneumonia caused by the inhalation of oil droplets; most commonly associated with the forced administration of paraffin oil or cod-liver oil to cats. Called also medication pneumonia, lipoid pneumonia. See also aspiration pneumonia.
lobar pneumonia
a fulminating bronchopneumonia in which entire pulmonary lobes are diffusively inflamed and then consolidated. Pneumonic pasteurellosis in cattle is the type disease. The animal is critically ill with anoxia and toxemia.
lobular pneumonia
an oldfashioned term for bronchopneumonia.
lymphoid interstitial pneumonia
see maedi.
ovine progressive pneumonia
see maedi.
parasitic pneumonia
see lungworm disease.
stable pneumonia
see equine influenza.
suppurative pneumonia of foals
see corynebacterial pneumonia.
uremic pneumonia
occurs in dogs with terminal uremia; lesions characterized by absence of inflammatory cells.

Patient discussion about aspiration pneumonia

Q. What Causes Aspiration Pneumonia? My father is hospitalized with aspiration pneumonia. What causes this?

A. Aspiration pneumonia is a pneumonia that develops due to the entrance of foreign material that enter the bronchial tree (air tubes), usually oral or gastric contents (including food, saliva, or nasal secretions). Aspiration pneumonia represents a either a bacterial infection or a chemical inflammatory process due to inadequate swallowing mechanism.

More discussions about aspiration pneumonia