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Aspiration Pneumonia: Six More Questions You Should Be Asking Your Doctor

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Continuing with advocacy on aspiration pneumonia, here are some more clarifications you should seek from your doctor:

1. Will the treatment also involve any invasive procedure like surgery?

In most cases, drugs will prove sufficient in treating the condition. However, sometimes physical removal of swallowed particles is undertaken in severe cases through bronchoscopy or tracheal suction. In some cases, CPAP intubation is also done.

2. Do we have relapse cases in aspiration pneumonia?

Yes. Aspiration pneumonia could relapse if prevention, lifestyle changes, and/or medication are not adhered to as per prescription instructions. It is also possible that there will be no changes in the factors that triggered the infection in the first place, like continuing to live or work in an area with chemical compounds, smoke, farms, etc.

3. Is there a possibility of me having complications while I am being treated?

Yes. Complications such as low blood pressure, acute respiratory distress syndrome, pulmonary abscess, superinfection, shock and bacteremia have known to occur if delays occur in reporting the condition to a doctor.

4. Is treatment covered by insurance?

Yes, in most cases it should be. However, you will need to be quick with the filing for reimbursements otherwise time lapses can destroy your case.

5. What is the prognosis for aspiration pneumonia?

About four to six weeks after treatment for aspiration pneumonia, the doctor generally schedules a follow-up visit. This is done keeping in view the chance that the lungs may still be infected. Patients who are not feeling better by that time may need more tests to find out why.

Mortality rates depend upon age and health of the patient especially in regards to the heart and lungs and the type and acuteness of the disease.

6. Any lifestyle changes I will have to make?

Post treatment, certain lifestyle changes are recommended for those who suffer from a poor gag reflex. They are advised nasogastric feeding for a few months after recovery to avoid re-aspiration.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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