inhalation injury

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia.
Related to inhalation injury: Smoke inhalation injury

inhalation injury

damage to the pulmonary parenchyma caused by inhalation of substances such as very hot air, toxic gas, asbestos, and chemical products of plastic manufacture.

in·ha·la·tion in·ju·ry

(in'hă-lā'shŭn in'jŭr-ē)
Trauma to the throat, lungs, and associated areas caused by fire, exposure to toxins, or lethal gases.

inhalation injury

Injury to the oropharynx, nasopharynx, trachea, bronchi, or lungs from exposure to smoke or heated gas. This injury is a potentially life-threatening complication of exposure to smoke and fire and is often present in those who have suffered facial burns; firefighters are esp. at risk. Early complications of inhalation injury include bronchospasm, airway edema, airway obstruction, and respiratory failure. Late complications include hospital-acquired pneumonias and other respiratory illnesses. Patients suspected of inhalation injury should be promptly and repeatedly assessed to make certain they have an open airway. Emergent tracheal intubation is used to prevent respiratory failure. See: carbon monoxide


Patients who have suffered smoke inhalation injury may complain of dyspnea, cough, and black sputum. Stridor may be present if the upper airway is narrowed as a result of inflammation. Confusion may occur if carbon monoxide poisoning is also present.

Synonym: smoke inhalation injury
See also: injury


1. the drawing of air or other substances into the lungs.
2. any drug or solution of drugs administered (as by means of nebulizers or aerosols) by the nasal or oral respiratory route.

inhalation injury
bronchiolitis and pulmonary edema result from the inhalation of smoke.
inhalation pneumonia
see aspiration pneumonia.
References in periodicals archive ?
Using bronchoscopy and biopsy to diagnose early inhalation injury.
Macroscopic and histological findings in the healing process of inhalation injury.
They further demonstated that the administration of gentamicin 6 h after smoke inhalation injury and bacterial challenge improved cardiovascular function, but not at such a late time point after injury.
Gentamicin improves hemodynamics in ovine septic shock after smoke inhalation injury.
Admission into the ward happens frequently when patients with 15-30%TBSA burns are not compromised, without inhalation injury or happen to be stable postoperatively and then do not need ICU admission.
Flexible bronchoscopy was again performed to assess the severity of previously diagnosed inhalation injury, perform directed pulmonary toilet, and obtain bronchioalveolar lavages specimens for cultures.
A study showed that the rate of cross-colonization with resistant organisms in 66 critically ill children with severe burns and inhalation injury on ventilator support during a 5 yr period was extremely low (3.
87 days/% burn can be expected in children with inhalation injury, flame burns >30%TBSA and age <48 months when managed in well-equipped and -staffed burns units.
Early referral of well-evaluated and well-resuscitated patients will greatly reduce inhalation injury and shock complications.
Basic science and clinical research have contributed to decreased mortality by elucidating the pathophysiology related to inhalation injury and by suggested treatment methods which have decreased the incidence of baro-trauma and pneumonia.
Evidence of an inhalation injury can be found in 4 - 35% of victims, depending on the age and circumstances of the injury.