Does having emphysema cause one to aspirate food into your lungs more easily than a healthy person? If this does happen, what should you do about it, and how can you tell if it in fact it did happen? Does it always result in an infection or can it clear resolve itself?
thanks for your time
Good question. There is no change in the swallowing reflex with emphysema. However, if a person with emphysema is short of breath while eating, having trouble swallowing between breaths, it is conceivable that this might increase the risk of aspiration.
What you should do about it depends, in part, on whether the aspirated material was or was not immediately coughed-up. If not coughed-up, the aspirated food or liquid has the capacity to initiate the process of inflammation which, in turn, could lead to infection, bronchitis or pneumonia or even lung abscess. Unless coughed up immediately, the material is likely to remain in the lung, indefinitely and might only lead to infection after days or even weeks have passed.
It would be wise to consult with your doctor and have an x-ray performed. If you continue to cough after the aspiration, even in the absence of x-ray change, it might be necessary to remove the aspirated material, under direct vision, with an instrument called a bronchoscope.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.