When a patient begins aspirating, you must begin suctioning the airway immediately. Mortality is closely tied to the volume of fluid a patient aspirates. By promptly suctioning the airway, you reduce exposure to contaminants and can lower the risk of hypoxia and other complications.
Because aspiration pneumonia in the elderly is related to certain risk factors, including dysphagia and aspiration, effective preventive measures involve various approaches, such as pharmacological therapy, swallowing training, dietary management, oral hygiene and positioning.
Aspiration pneumonia treatment Depending on how far down the airway system the obstruction is, you may need suctioning of the upper airway (the trachea) or a bronchoscopy. You may need to have a tube put into your trachea and connected to a ventilator to help you breathe. Antibiotics will probably be required.
Treatment includes supplemental oxygen, steroids, or help from a breathing machine. Depending on the cause of chronic aspiration, you may require surgery. For example, you may get surgery for a feeding tube if you have swallowing problems that don’t respond to treatment.
Body positions that minimize aspiration include the reclining position, chin down, head rotation, side inclination, the recumbent position, and combinations of these. Patients with severe dysphagia often use a 30° reclining position.
Depending on the cause and severity of the aspiration, a feeding tube may be required. If someone is choking or not breathing, take immediate action. Call 911 and start CPR or Heimlich maneuver. If the person is coughing forcefully, encourage them to continue coughing to clear the object.
At least 5 percent of people who are hospitalized for aspiration will die. Among those with other complications, such as emphysema, the mortality rate rises to 20 percent or higher. Among geriatric populations, mortality skyrockets. A 2013 study of elderly patients put 30-day mortality at 21 percent.
Recently, the effectiveness of rehabilitative management including physical, pulmonary, and dysphagia rehabilitation for aspiration pneumonia was reported. Several studies showed that early rehabilitation was associated with reduced mortality and early hospital discharge after aspiration pneumonia.
The symptoms usually take between 1 and 4 weeks to appear, according to the CDC.
Aspiration of foreign material into the lungs can represent a medical emergency requiring timely interventions to assure a favorable outcome. Establishment of a patent airway and maintenance of adequate oxygenation are the initial requirements for successful treatment of all types of aspiration emergencies.
The following stood out among the risk factors: Dysphagia, Impaired or absent gag reflex, Neurological disorders, and Impaired physical mobility, all of which were statistically associated with Risk for aspiration.
Mixing pills with food helps reduce risk for aspiration. Stop continual feeding temporarily when turning or moving patient. When turning or moving a patient, it is difficult to keep the head elevated to prevent regurgitation and possible aspiration. Provide oral care before and after meals.
If it turns out that your loved one does suffer from dysphagia, the following tips can help you to manage their condition effectively:
PEG has not been shown to prevent aspiration of oropharyngeal contents. Furthermore, many patients have macroaspiration of gastric contents and tube feedings. Close monitoring of gastric residual volumes and holding feedings when high residuals are encountered may limit aspiration.
Swallowing Strategies 11) Myth: People with dysphagia shouldn’t use straws. Truth: Straws propel fluids into the back of the mouth faster, so they sometimes cause problems for people with dysphagia. However, some people have trouble propelling the fluid backward, and a straw can make swallowing easier.