Pulmonary aspiration

What is Pulmonary aspiration?

Pulmonary aspiration is the entry of material (such as pharyngeal secretions, food or drink, or stomach contents) from the oropharynx or gastrointestinal tract into the larynx (voice box) and lower respiratory tract (the portions of the respiratory system from the trachea—i.e., windpipe—to the lungs). A person may either inhale the material, or it may be delivered into the tracheobronchial tree during positive pressure ventilation. When pulmonary aspiration occurs during eating and drinking, the aspirated material is often colloquially referred to as "going down the wrong pipe."

Consequences of pulmonary aspiration range from no injury at all, to chemical pneumonitis or pneumonia, to death within minutes from asphyxiation. These consequences depend in part on the volume, chemical composition, particle size, presence or absence of infectious agents, and underlying health status of the person. In healthy people, aspiration of small quantities of material is common and rarely results in disease or injury. People with significant underlying disease or injury, especially hospitalized patients, are at greater risk for developing respiratory complications following pulmonary aspiration because of certain factors such as depressed level of consciousness and impaired airway defenses (gag reflex and/or respiratory tract antimicrobial defense system).

As the lumen of the right main bronchus is more vertical and of slightly wider diameter than that of the left, aspirated material is more likely to end up in this bronchus or one of its subsequent bifurcations.

Questions and answers on "Pulmonary aspiration"

88 yr old mom complaining of left upper back pain, stuffiness in stomach and just doesn't feel right. Hasn't had a bowel movement in 2-3 days...

doctor1 MD

Thanks for asking.
Based on your query, my opinion is as follows.
1. Abnormal posture and weak back muscles is the cause for upper back pain....

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Baby is experiencing difficult sleeping issues. Thrases and kicks in his sleep. Wakes and cant settle. Bsby also hasmucus in stools and a weezy...

doctor1 MD

please post the detailed problem to understand

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Grandpa had cancer then stroke feeds through tube now has a bad cold what can help

doctor1 MD


Food particles or saliva is aspirated into the lungs while tube feeding. This will be unnoticed but can cause serious pneumonia.

Your Grandpa...

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