What are the risk factors for aspiration pneumonia?

Updated: Sep 30, 2020
  • Author: Justina Gamache, MD; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Patients may be at increased risk of aspiration and/or the development of aspiration pneumonia for a number of reasons, as follows:

  • Decreased ability to clear oropharyngeal secretions - Poor cough or gag reflex, impaired swallowing mechanism (eg, dysphagia in stroke patients), impaired ciliary transport (eg, from smoking)

  • Increased volume of secretions

  • Increased bacterial burden of secretions

  • Presence of other comorbidities - Anatomic abnormalities, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), achalasia.

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