Pulmonary aspiration | Inhaling foreign object

Pulmonary Aspiration is the medical term in which a person by chance inhale any foreign object, takes in fluid or Liquid contents, food substances from the stomach, nasal cavity, or oral cavity then moves into the windpipe and lungs. 

Due to Pulmonary aspiration, coughing, difficulty breathing, discomfort, and sometimes choking start in a person. Many people sometimes experience pulmonary aspiration when they drink and eat food contents that move into the air pipe.

The occurrence of pulmonary aspiration

Pulmonary aspiration occurs when a person breathes in:

  •       Water, such as when swimming, bathing, or playing in a pool
  •       Saliva
  •       Stomach contents, including vomiting
  •       Smoke, fumes, or dust during breathing or inhaling
  •       These particles can partially block the airways and irritate the lungs.

When a person intake food particles that can be transferred into the tracheobronchial tree by

Breathe of positive pressure. It means when a person eat any food then its particle first

If all enter into the pharynx then these particles move into the larynx. Larynx moves

These particles move into the trachea, trachea to bronchi, and then finally these particles reach into the lungs. This whole movement of food particles is referred to as “moving down in a false way or pipe.”Conclusions of pulmonary aspiration compass of no injury due to pneumonia which causes death.

These Conclusions depend on the mass, chemical combination, size of particles, and infection-causing agent in the aspirated material. In healthy people it is very common to inhale small particles of contents. But these rarely made the cause of pulmonary aspirations however in those people who are underlying this disease have more chances of respiratory disorders such as pulmonary aspirations that are mostly in hospitalized patients, because of these factors like distress of carefulness and defective airway fence.

Pulmonary aspiration spreads more rapidly in children as compared to adults. In healthy people, pulmonary Aspiration leads to disease. This disease is rarely occurring. Pulmonary aspiration in diseased patients leads to complications that are alarming for health purposes.

Pulmonary Aspiration rarely occurs in Older but it generally happens in infants and children. Children and infants are mostly affected by pulmonary aspiration during the early age of life.

Caused by bacteria

Pulmonary aspiration caused by bacteria. It is a diplococcus pneumonia, which is Streptococci. Pneumonia caused. It is a major cause of bacterial infection,(gram-positive bacteria). Pneumococcal pneumonia is fatal.

There are the following indications of bacterial pneumonia:

  •       Heart attack or cardiovascular disease.
  •       Difficulty in breathing.
  •       Green or yellow colored mucus produced during coughing.
  •       Agitation or running a temperature.
  •       Fatigue
  •       Chilling

In children and adults expressions of diplococcus pneumonia are the same. The patients that are Suffer from aspiration pneumonia are in danger because this can lead to death.

More important causes of pulmonary aspiration

There are the following causes of pulmonary aspiration:

  • Pulmonary aspiration is caused by Abnormalities in the swallowing reflex.
  • The operation of the throat is also the cause of pulmonary aspiration.
  • The neurological disorder also caused pulmonary aspiration.
  • The problem of teeth can also cause pulmonary aspiration.
  • Seizures also cause pulmonary aspiration.
  • Fatigue also causes pulmonary aspiration.
  • Acid reflux also causes pulmonary aspiration.
  • Mental retardation also causes pulmonary respiration.
  • Lack of muscle coordination also disturbed how’ well you chew or swallow.
  • Medication reaction also causes pulmonary aspiration.
  • Throat cancer also causes pulmonary aspiration.
  • Head and neck injuries also cause pulmonary aspiration.
  • Stroke and nervous system disorders also cause pulmonary aspiration.
  • Due to eating or drinking fastly pulmonary aspiration is caused.

Risk factors about pulmonary aspiration

There are the following risk factors of pulmonary aspiration.

  •       The process of false swallowing also increases the chances of pulmonary aspiration.
  •       These devices of the G1 tract and their procedures produce a risk of pulmonary aspiration.
  •       The different levels of consciousness enormously enhance the chances of pulmonary aspiration.
  •       Chances of pulmonary aspiration enhance due to respiring instruments and their procedures.
  •       The chance of pulmonary aspiration is also increased due to vomiting.
  •       Diseases of gastroesophageal also increase the chances of pulmonary aspiration.
  •       Risk of pulmonary aspiration increases in pediatric anesthetics.
  •       Pediatric anesthetics patients have a higher incidence of pulmonary aspiration as compared to Adults.
  •       The risk of pulmonary aspiration would be increased in children as compared with adults Because 76 % of pediatric patients have gastric contents with less pHs.

Pulmonary aspiration and children

These are the following possibilities of pulmonary aspiration which might be founded in children:

  •       GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
  •       A cleft palate.
  •       Delayed growth in children due to premature birth increases the possibility of pulmonary aspiration.
  •       Down syndrome also increases the possibility of pulmonary aspiration.
  •       Chronic heart disease is also caused in children due to pulmonary aspiration.
  •       Neuromuscular diseases, such as spinal muscular atrophy also make a cause of pulmonary aspiration.

In children due to pulmonary aspiration the risk of dehydration, malnutrition, weight loss, and other problems.

In older adults:

A condition is known as Dysphagia most likely to occur it’s mean that a person faces difficulty swallowing. It most commonly occurs in stroke patients and in those who suffer from dementia, disseminated sclerosis, par-kin- sons diseases, and other Neuromuscular junctions.

Complications due to pulmonary aspiration

Many complications are produced due to pulmonary aspiration:

❖        Aspiration pneumonia

❖        Pulmonary edema

❖        Dysphagia

❖         Meconium aspiration syndrome

Details of causes of pulmonary aspiration

Aspiration pneumonia

It is an infection caused due to a specific type of microorganism. It also causes death in some patients. Mostly it occurs during operations when anesthesia is applied. Many symptoms appear in patients like coughing, shortness of breath and hypertension.


It is diagnosed by

  •         X-rays of chest.
  •         CBC (Complete blood count).
  •         CT scan of chest.
  •         Through blood culture.
  •         Bronchoscopy


Its treatment varies to patients depending on health conditions and severity of disease symptoms. In some patients commonly antibiotics are recommended to clear out the infection and to avoid serious problems.

Some doctors issued tests to patent and wait for the results of the test to recommend proper medicines. And doctors also issue tests to check the resistance of bacteria against antibiotics.

Some people need to be hospitalized if the condition becomes harsher like that person who faces difficulty breathing due to which he needs a breathing machine to become normal. If a person faces difficulty swallowing some food contents or liquid then doctors use another method to feed that patient.


  •         Avoid smoking
  •         Must sit down during eating or chewing something edible.
  •         By adopting and practicing good dental and oral care.

Pulmonary Edema

It is a condition in which fluid starts to collect in the lungs due to extravasations of fluid from pulmonary vasculature into the alveoli of the lungs.


  1.       Cardioectomy pulmonary oedema
  2.       Non- Cardiectomy pulmonary oedema.


Its medical treatment includes 3 main goals:

  1.        Preload reduction
  2.         Afterload reduction

iii.        Inotropic support

Within about 48-74 hours patients should be given medical or surgical care. In medical care oxygen supplementations first of all give. And the surgical care applied directed at the neurological insult (disturbance of brain blood flow’) like hemorrhage.


It means it is difficult to eat something like food. Eating is not an enjoyable mood for anyone.


There are two types of it:

  1.       Oropharyngeal
  2.       Esophageal


  •         Pain and difficulty in swallowing any food contents.
  •         Chest burning
  •         Abruptly loss in weight
  •         Starting of nasal speech due to muscle weakness with connecting muscle.

Meconium aspiration syndrome

This syndrome occurs in newborn babies during breathing. The baby aspirates a dark green sterile fecal material blown as Meconium inhale in its lungs may be before or at the time of birth so this syndrome is known as Meconium aspiration syndrome.

Meconium when aspired into the lungs causes inflammation of the lungs or it may increase the risk of lung infections.


Many symptoms can be seen in affected new born baby such as

❖        Bluish skin

❖       Rapid breathing

❖       Labored breathing,(it makes a grunting sound when breath out).

❖       Limpness in the newborn at birth.


Through chest X-ray the newborn can be seen in a patchy or streaky area on its lungs.

❖        Through a stethoscope you can hear an abnormal breath sound, a specially coarse or crackly sound at the fetal monitor you can see the slow heart beat rate of the fetus before its birth.

With a laryngoscope you can check the meconium which might be aspired in newborn babies to look for meconium staining on the vocal cord.


There are the following treatments of Meconium aspiration syndrome.

❖       Antibiotics are used to treat the infection.

❖       To keep the lungs inflated, breathing machines can be used.

❖       To maintain the body temperature of a new baby warmer may be used.

❖       Start to tap on the chest to loosen the secretions.

Bone marrow aspiration

A spongy tissue is found inside the bones which is known as bone marrow inside the bone marrow there are some special types of cells which produced white leukocytes (WBCs), erythrocytes (RBCs) and thrombocytes with in the large bones of body like hips, ribs and breast bone.

The number of WBCs, RBCs and platelets can be checked through complete blood count (CBC), which can be high or low abnormally in a patient so the doctors suggest examining the patient’s bone marrow to find out the complication or causes of symptoms.

Bone marrow autopsy is a treatment which is used to know or check bone marrow aspiration in which needles are used to separate solid tissues from the bone marrow of a patient.

Conditions related to bone marrow aspirations:

Myelofibrosis Syndrome

Bone marrow cancer like leukemia:

Increasing the level of iron in blood that builds up in tissues and organs such a condition is known as Hemochromatosis.

Risk associated with bone marrow aspirations:

Following complications include in risk factors of bone marrow aspiration:

  •       Uneasiness conditions or discomfort for a long period.
  •       Infection.
  •       Bleeding.
  •       Anesthesia.

Performance of bone marrow aspirations:

First of all your doctor checks the body temperature, heart beat and blood pressure then the doctor will be injected with anesthesia. Typically bone marrow is taken from the bone of the hip . Sometimes it may also be taken from other parts of the body like rib bone or chest bone.

With the help of a hollow needle which passes from your skin into the bone marrow is taken. After this procedure doctor will bandage that area, you might feel slide pain for about a week. You must take care of your wound or needle insertion sight until it heals.

Symptoms of Pulmonary Aspiration

The symptoms of pulmonary diseases generally prevail after some events like

Vomiting, drinking water, and intake of food particles. They can also be silent or overt.

❖ The people with false or random consciousness are followed by silent aspiration.

❖ The symptoms that occur suddenly like wheezing and coughing are followed by overt


❖ The symptom occurs when we are feeling that something is stuck in the throat.

Painful swallowing shows symptoms of pulmonary aspiration.

During breathing when we feel difficulty it’s mean it is due to pulmonary aspiration

A hoarse voice is also a symptom of pulmonary aspiration.

❖ During silent aspiration symptoms are not severe because that person who suffering of

❖ Aspiration is not aware that the liquid from the mouth or stomach material might enter the lungs.

❖ During unnoticed pulmonary aspirations, many symptoms appear or are recognized in a person like rasping or croaking.

Noisily or breath audibly.

Symptoms in children

There are the following symptoms of pulmonary aspiration in children:

  •       A grimacing expression is a symptom of pulmonary aspiration in children.
  •       Weak sucking power in children is also a symptom of pulmonary aspiration

During feeding.

  •       Excessive drooling in children is also due to pulmonary aspiration.
  •       Feeding problems or difficulty breathing when feeding is also due to

Pulmonary aspirations in children.

  •       Wheezing of breathing with a whistling or rattling sound in the chest) is also a symptom Of pulmonary aspiration.
  •       Frequent chest infections in children are also due to pulmonary aspiration.
  •       The face of children or infants becomes red due to pulmonary aspiration.
  •       The children or infants suffer in continuously repeating infections of lungs.
  •       They also suffer in fever of slight range due to pulmonary aspiration.

When we need a doctor:

Pulmonary aspiration required medical treatment when any of the following

Symptoms arise which are given below:

  •       Choking or a blocked airway.
  •       Noisy or whistling during breathing mostly at bedtime in children or adults.
  •       Turning the color of skin or nails into blue.
  •       Chest pain.
  •       Wheezing.
  •       When a person feels a fever.
  •       When mucus production increased more than normal,
  •       Foul-smelling mucus
  •       Highly chronic coughing.

During coughing when blood comes out from the mouth

Symptoms of pulmonary aspiration do not occur themselves immediately in a person. These

Symptoms may take hours or days to develop in a person.


As the symptoms of pulmonary aspiration appear in a person as soon as possible doctors start to work to diagnose and treat it. Doctors physically exam the patient to know the signs and causes of pneumonia.

Signs which a doctor finds in a patient one of them is crackling noise created in the lungs when the patient breathes or any person feels difficult to breathe. To take the images of lungs X-rays or CT (computed tomography) is suggested or recommended by the doctors.

To look at the airways and check for un-blockages mostly doctors use the technique of bronchoscope. To know about how much infection is severe and what type of treatment can be applied on the patient doctors recommended a complete sputum culture test, CBC its means complete blood count or arterial blood gas test.

❖     Treatment of the patient depends upon the health of the patient and the critical condition of the patient due to pulmonary aspiration symptoms.

❖     To get rid of infection or severity of the infection and to avoid serious problems or complications the most commonly used medications are antibiotics. First of all to recommend any antibiotics doctor must wait for the results of the test about pulmonary aspiration.

❖     If a person feels or faces difficulty breathing that person needs to be hospitalized and under the monitoring of doctors so doctors immediately use a breathing machine to maintain the breathing rate in patients.

❖ If the patient is facing difficulty swallowing or take in food then the doctors suggested he change his feeding method or to avoid eating such type of food which makes cause of further pulmonary aspiration.


If a patient who is suffering from pulmonary aspiration takes a long period of time to go to a doctor many severe complications or problems increase. This infection might spread fastly in other areas or parts of the body. Even if it will also reach the bloodstream then it becomes more dangerous for the patient then the results will be worse.

Due to pulmonary aspiration pockets or abscesses might be formed in the lungs, in this situation pulmonary aspiration can cause respiratory failure.

Due to pulmonary aspiration swallowing problems create further inflammation so the proper heal does not occur in lungs. When we are too late in going to the doctor the situation becomes more critical.

How to prevent pulmonary aspiration

It is not easy to prevent pulmonary aspiration but we can reduce the risk of it by changing our lifestyle. Stop drinking excessive amounts of alcohol because it increases the chances or risk of aspiration pneumonia.

If the patient does not get relieved by using prescribed medicine from the doctor and feels that the food particles again go down the wrong pipe or airway pipe, he must be examined or visit his doctor immediately who can change the medicine to avoid breathing in food particles in the airway pipe.

Other ways to prevent pulmonary aspiration are as follow:

4- Do not use alcohol.

4- Do not be smoking.

4- Sit down while eating a meal deliberately.

Medical care:

The following steps must be followed to overcome the pulmonary aspiration.

At the bedtime approximately 90 minutes before feeding the infant, o During feeding period make sure you are sitting in the correct position or posture, o Might be changed the type of food it may be in liquid form that can be easily swallowed, o During feeding the infant avoids usage of a bottle which is lying down. Properly wash the bottle before ever)’ use.

When the risk of pulmonary aspiration becomes more severe in your child then there will be a need to feel the child with a tube to ensure that the child is getting enough food or nutrients. Move or visit any specialist or physician when you feel that your child has a problem during respiration- It is important to check the doctor so that pulmonary aspiration does not become more complicated.

Prevention tips for pulmonary aspiration

>   Take some rest before starting to take a meal.

>   Small bites of food take and properly cut or chew the food into small pieces.

>   Before drinking make sure you swallow the food contents completely.

>   When you are eating food, sit upright in a 90 degree position.

>   On a regular basis or at least after three months visit your dentist to check your complete mouth and teeth.

>   Stop using such medicines which cause drying up of mouth water (saliva) or other mouth secretions whenever you go to eat something.

Every person used to aspire. Persons who are physically healthy and very conscious about their health only miner chance of pulmonary aspiration found in them because if by chance they inhale any food content their lungs tend to cough up that contents.

However, for people who are not conscious about their health the risk of aspiration increases if they suffer in pulmonary aspiration then pulmonary aspiration becomes more severe in them if they do not take this disease seriously.

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