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  • • Aspiration of gastric contents

    • Hypoxemia


  • • Occurs in patients unable to protect airway

    • Post trauma

    • Anesthetized patient

    • Obtunded patient

Symptoms and Signs

  • • Vomiting

    • Shortness of breath

    • Gastric contents in airway on bronchoscopy

Laboratory Findings

  • • Hypoxemia

Imaging Findings

  • • Localized infiltrate on chest film

  • • May occur in settings with other potential causes of hypoxemia (acute respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis, trauma)

    • Patient often with altered level of consciousness

  • • ABG measurements

    • Chest film

    • Bronchoscopy

  • • Pulmonary hygiene

    • Supplemental oxygen

    • Intubation and mechanical ventilation

    • Bronchoscopy


  • • Pneumonitis

    • Pneumonia


  • • Determined by patient's overall health


  • • Aspiration precautions

    • Avoid oversedation


Bulger EM et al. Current clinical options for the treatment and management of acute respiratory distress syndrome. J Trauma. 2000;48:562.  [PubMed: 10744307]
The Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Network: Ventilation with lower tidal volumes as compared with traditional tidal volumes for acute lung injury and the acute respiratory distress syndrome. N Engl J Med 2000;342:1301.

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