Mullan et al identified risk factors associated with pulmonary aspiration in hospitalized patients receiving enteral nutrition support. These can help identify patients who may require additional interventions to reduce the risk of aspiration. The author are from the Johns Hopkins Hospital.


Factors associated with an increased risk of aspiration:

(1) older age (mean age in aspiration group was 69 years old vs 58 in nonaspiration group)

(2) transfer from ICU to ward, OR transfer from ward to ICU

(3) large bolus feedings


Factors associated with a decreased risk of aspiration:

(1) protected airway (endotracheal tube, tracheostomy)

(2) intensive nursing care


The authors found that pulmonary aspiration was relatively infrequent (2.4 episodes per 1,000 tube feeding days), generally mild, and often preventable.


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