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How did I get aspiration pneumonia following surgery?

By Anonymous March 11, 2017 - 8:28am
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When I was put to sleep prior to shoulder surgery, I was well. When I woke up, I was having trouble breathing. By that night, I was rushed to the hospital with a 02 level at 83. I stayed in the hospital for 3 days and was treated for aspiration pneumonia. How did I get that pneumonia? How long does it take to recover

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Hi, Anon.

Thank you for your question.

During surgical anesthesia, respiratory reflexes such as gag reflexes that normally prevent vomited food or gastric juices from entering the lungs are suppressed. Food, stomach juices, blood or saliva can enter the trachea, the tube that leads to the lungs. Aspiration of the substance into the lungs can cause respiratory problems. Aspiration can occur in people undergoing emergency surgery who have recently eaten, people who are obese or pregnant, or those under deep anesthesia.

Generally, recovery time can vary depending upon your general health, promptness of medical attention, and severity of the infection. A majority of sufferers recover completely within a few weeks, with residual coughing persisting some weeks after the infection has gone. Speak to your doctor who knows your health history and can provide more detailed information.


March 11, 2017 - 12:00pm
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