How is suspected aspiration pneumonia managed by paramedics or emergency medical technicians (EMTs)?

Updated: Aug 15, 2018
  • Author: Justina Gamache, MD; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Prehospital care should focus on stabilizing the patient's airway, breathing, and circulation. In patients found with signs of gastric aspiration (ie, vomitus) suctioning of the upper airway may remove a significant amount of aspirate or potential aspirate.

Intubation should be considered in any patient who is unable to protect his or her airway. The ability of paramedics to provide this intervention depends on the level of their training. [15] In addition, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) trained in intubation may choose to intubate patients with poor gag reflex to prevent aspiration.

Other measures include the following:

  • Oxygen supplementation

  • Cardiac monitoring and pulse oximetry

  • Intravenous (IV) catheter placement and IV fluids, as indicated

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