Español
Texas Health Fort Worth Earns Magnet® Nursing Recognition
PrintEmail
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+)
In This Section Texas Health Fort Worth

Health Info


Pneumococci organism
Pneumococci organism


Bronchoscopy
Bronchoscopy


Lungs
Lungs


Respiratory system
Respiratory system


Aspiration pneumonia

Definition:

Pneumonia is a breathing condition in which there is swelling or an infection of the lungs or large airways.

Aspiration pneumonia occurs when food, saliva, liquids, or vomit is breathed into the lungs or airways leading to the lungs.



Alternative Names:

Anaerobic pneumonia; Aspiration of vomitus; Necrotizing pneumonia; Aspiration pneumonitis



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

The type of bacteria that caused the pneumonia depends on:

  • Your health
  • Where you live (at home or in a long-term nursing facility, for example)
  • Whether you were recently hospitalized
  • Recent antibiotic use

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
  • Drinking large amounts of alcohol
  • Medicine to put you into a deep sleep for surgery (general anesthesia )
  • Old age
  • Poor gag reflex in people who are not alert (unconscious or semi-conscious) after a stroke or brain injury
  • Problems with swallowing


Symptoms:

Signs and tests:

A physical examination may reveal:

  • Crackling sounds in the lungs
  • Decreased oxygen
  • Rapid pulse (fast heartbeat)
  • Decreased mental awareness

The following tests may also help diagnose this condition:



Treatment:

Some people may need to be hospitalized. Treatment depends on how severe the pneumonia is. Sometimes a ventilator (breathing machine) is needed to support breathing.

You will likely receive antibiotics.

You may need to have your swallowing function tested. Persons who have trouble swallowing may need to use other feeding methods to reduce the risk of aspiration.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

Outcome depends on:

  • Health of the person before getting pneumonia
  • Type of bacteria causing the pneumonia
  • How much of the lungs are involved

More severe infections may result in long-term damage to the lungs.



Complications:
  • Lung abscess
  • Shock
  • Spread of infection to the bloodstream (bacteremia )
  • Spread of infection to other areas of the body
  • Respiratory failure


Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider, go to the emergency room, or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if you have:

  • Chest pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing


References:

Limper AH. Overview of pneumonia. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman’s Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 97

Torres A, Menendez R, Wunderink R. Pyogenic bacterial pneumonia and lung abscess. In: Mason RJ, Broaddus VC, Martin TR, et al, eds. Murray & Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2010:chap 32.




Review Date: 1/24/2013
Reviewed By: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com


Online Tools

Locations

Helpful Info

Links