Author | Paul Strachan, MD

Articles

Preventive measures are still the best strategy Aspiration syndromes: Pneumonia and pneumonitis key words: Aspiration, Pneumonitis, Pneumonia

September 01, 2007

abstract: While the risk factors for aspiration pneumonia are similar to those for aspiration pneumonitis, the 2 syndromes have different presentations. Aspiration pneumonia tends to occur in older patients or in those with neurological diseases, and the aspiration is not usually witnessed. Aspiration pneumonitis is more likely to occur in patients undergoing anesthesia or in those with acute drug and alcohol overdoses, and the aspiration is often witnessed. The workup may include bedside assessment of the cough and gag reflexes, chest radiography, videofluoroscopic imaging, or fiberoptic endoscopy. Empiric antibiotic therapy should be avoided in most patients with pneumonitis; however, antibiotics may be indicated for those at high risk for bacterial colonization of oropharyngeal and gastric contents who have fever, increasing sputum production, or new infiltrates or for those who fail to improve within 48 hours. (J Respir Dis. 2007;28(9):370-385)