Aspiration pneumonia

Friday, 03 May 2024

Customer question:

What is aspiration pneumonia? Anonymous customer's question

Pharmacist's answer:

Aspiration pneumonia occurs when a foreign body, liquid, food, or other substance enters the airways and is then aspirated or breathed into the lungs. This can lead to inflammation and infection of lung tissue.

Aspiration can occur for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Food or liquid retention: This can happen when a person is unable to swallow correctly due to conditions such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, head injury, or difficulty swallowing (dysphagia).
  • Gastric retention: If stomach contents (acid and digestive juices) go back into the esophagus and are breathed into the airways, this can cause aspiration pneumonia. This can happen in people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or those on mechanical ventilation.
  • Aspiration of a foreign body: If a foreign body, such as a piece of food, part of a tooth, or other foreign substance, enters the respiratory tract, this can also cause aspiration pneumonia.

Check out more about pneumonia.

Symptoms of aspiration pneumonia can be similar to those of other types of pneumonia, including cough, difficulty breathing, fever, chest pain, and general malaise. However, a history of aspiration or a foreign body in the respiratory tract can be important information for diagnosing aspiration pneumonia.

Treatment for aspiration pneumonia usually involves using antibiotics to treat the infection, supportive therapy to relieve symptoms, and sometimes other procedures, such as removing the foreign body from the airways. It is essential to recognize and treat aspiration pneumonia in time, as it can otherwise cause serious complications, such as lung abscesses or pneumothorax.

Interesting reading: Pneumonia contagiousness

Interesting reading: Pneumonia in the elderly

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