What are the Causes for Pulmonary Aspiration?

Inhalation of gastric acids, vomit, food, or any foreign bodies, when the cough reflexes are absent, carries the fluids into the airways and lungs causing

pulmonary aspiration

. This damages the lung tissues and encourages anaerobic bacterial infections, which, if left untreated, can lead to many respiratory complications. Here are the risk factors and causes for

pulmonary aspiration


  • Excess Alcohol

    Intake of excess alcohol causes the muscles to relax and unconsciousness, and the body tries to get rid of the alcohol in the blood through urination and vomiting. When a person vomits during unconscious state, the throat gets filled blocking the air passage. This results in breathing the vomit into the lungs.

  • Anesthesia

    General anesthesia that is improperly administered, that is without emptying the stomach or without fasting before the surgery, can cause aspiration.

  • Head Trauma or Unconsciousness

    Head traumas that result in unconsciousness and vomiting, and any other reasons that cause unconsciousness along with refluxes or vomiting are risk factors for this condition.

  • Metabolic and Neurological Conditions

    Certain types of metabolic and neurological disorders or conditions that cause aspiration problems as a result of improper coordination of the muscles involved in swallowing.

  • Early Respiratory Movements in Infants

    During the delivery of infants, in some cases, the respiratory organs start to move even before coming outside. This results in inhalation of the fetal fluids and damage to the lung tissues.

  • Other Risk Factors

    Other risk factors for this problem include gastric reflux, obesity, pregnancy, injuries, and structural problems that interfere with the regular movements of the intestinal or respiratory organs.

If you experience any symptoms such as shortness of breath, discomfort in chest, or productive cough, and are a victim of any of the risk factors for

pulmonary aspiration

mentioned above, get yourself checked immediately. Prompt treatment will prevent any complications or permanent damage to the lungs.

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