Pneumonia| Aspiration

Etiology

  • Impaired ability to protect airway
  • Anatomic or functional predispositions (e.g. dysphagia, serve GERD)

Risk Factors

  • Severe GERD
  • Sometimes associated w/altered consciousness (e.g. intoxication or other use of other substances that depress sensorium, advanced dementia)
  • Swallowing impairment (dysphagia)
  • Can be chronic/recurrent if underlying predisposing factor is persistent
  • Can result in an inflammatory pneumonitis w/o infxn
  • Can sometimes have a slow/indolent course (eg. w/lung abscess)

Symptoms

  • Acute or recurrent sob, doe, cough, fever

Physical Exam Findings

  • May have vital sign abnormalities if significant aspiration and/or compromised
  • Can have altered level of consciousness, cognitive impairment
  • May affect same lung area→ RML/RLL, based on body position at time of aspiration
  • Can lead to lung abscess