What are the physical findings of aspiration pneumonia?

Updated: Aug 15, 2018
  • Author: Justina Gamache, MD; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Physical examination findings vary depending on the severity of the disease, presence of complications, and host factors. Patients with aspiration pneumonitis secondary to seizure, head trauma, or drug overdose should be inspected for signs related to these processes. In addition to exhibiting signs associated with the underlying disease that led to their aspiration, patients with aspiration pneumonia or pneumonitis may demonstrate the following:

  • Fever or hypothermia

  • Tachypnea

  • Tachycardia

  • Decreased breath sounds

  • Dullness to percussion over areas of consolidation

  • Rales

  • Egophony and pectoriloquy

  • Decreased breath sounds

  • Pleural friction rub

  • Altered mental status

  • Hypoxemia

  • Hypotension (in septic shock)

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