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Aspiration Pneumonitis 

Aspiration Pneumonitis
Chapter:
Aspiration Pneumonitis
Author(s):

Agnieszka Trzcinka

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190226459.003.0016
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date: 28 February 2020

Aspiration pneumonitis during the perioperative period is a serious complication and involves passage of sterile gastric contents into the airway resulting in alveolar damage. The mechanism of aspiration pneumonitis is characterized by a significant inflammatory reaction. The risk of aspiration is highest during anesthesia induction, but it is also present during emergence and extubation. The risk factors include delayed gastric emptying (gastritis, pain, pregnancy, obesity, elevated intracranial pressure), emergency surgery, upper abdominal surgery, and difficulty securing the airway. Anesthesiologists should focus on prevention of pulmonary aspiration with consideration of the patient’s NPO status and risk factors when planning anesthesia induction and emergence. If aspiration of gastric contents occurs, the patient may exhibit a variety of symptoms, with severity based on the volume and pH of the aspirate. Subsequently, patients with observed or suspected aspiration need supportive treatment that varies depending on the severity of symptoms.

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