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Aspiration Pneumonia

Aspiration pneumonia occurs when gastric contents, vomit or food distillate into the lungs and cause inflammation of the lungs and bronchial tubes. The aspirated material is responsible for introducing bacteria that is not normally found in the lungs. Pus forms as a result of this infection. The infection can then spread to the blood and other areas of the body. It can bring on shock and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Sometimes it can cause pus to collect in the lungs. The severity of aspiration pneumonia depends on the volume and acidity of the aspirated contents. The effects of aspiration pneumonia can range from mechanical obstruction of airways to acute respiratory distress. Older persons or persons with altered mental status are more likely to face this emergency situation. Aspiration pneumonia is also a coincident risk of head trauma, acute stroke or metabolic derangement. Elderly hospitalized patients and those suffering from neurological diseases or gastroesophageal reflux are at increased risk of aspiration pneumonia.


Symptoms of aspiration pneumonia are fever and cough with foul-smelling or blood-stained mucus. Patients experience shortness of breath and chest pain. Increased heart rate and wheezing is also noticed. Aspiration pneumonia can be fatal if not attended to in time. Hospitalization may be required for management of the illness. Treatment measures vary depending on the severity of the pneumonia. Chest x-ray, blood culture and sputum culture can aid diagnosis and treatment. Swallowing studies are conducted on the patient to assess the swallowing function. Intravenous antibiotic medications are used to treat aspiration pneumonia. Articial breathing apparatus is used to aid the patient and keep the airways open. Oxygen therapy is also resorted to.

Dysphagia

Dysphagia is a swallowing disorder where patients feel a choking sensation on eating or drinking. There is a sensation of food being stuck in the throat or chest. The word is derived from the Greek word for disordered eating.

Dysphagia can be caused due to GERD, mouth cancer or esophageal cancer or even a stroke. Those suffering from Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Multiple sclerosis, laryngitis and tonsillitis are more likely to suffer this condition. There is a risk of aspiration pneumonia, dehydration and airway obstruction. The patient coughs frequently and anything that is eaten escapes from the mouth or nose.


The patient is examined for swallowing assessment and detecting swallowing abnormalities. The back of the tongue, throat and larynx is examined with a flexible laryngoscope. Endoscopic examination of the esophagus and stomach is also done. A barium swallow helps capture the movement of food on swallowing. Food modification, surgery or physical modifications are resorted to.


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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: December 11, 2017