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Aspiration pneumonia and aspiration pneumonitis occurs when foreign material, such as food, drink, gastric secretions and secretions from the mouth are inhaled and cause inflammation in the lungs and bronchial tubes. Aspiration can often be prevented by dietary interventions for dysphagia e.g. adjusting texture, consistency and amount of food and fluids, frequent oral care, post-pyloric tube (tube passes through stomach and into small intestine) feedings, and the semi-recumbent (45 degree angle) position for mechanically ventilated patients (DiBardino, 2015).

Patient Story

A catalogue of mistakes by an out-of-hours GP service and a hospital contributed to the death of a young woman with physical and learning disabilities, the NHS ombudsman says in a highly critical report that has led to fresh claims of prejudicial attitudes leading to poor care for such vulnerable patients.

The report, by NHS ombudsman Dame Julie Mellor, finds that Tina Papalabropoulos, 23, died in Basildon hospital in Essex of aspiration pneumonia in 2009 after a series of blunders by two NHS organisations.