Journal article Open Access
Dr. Maryam Saghir, Dr. Aleema Farooq, Dr. Maria
Introduction: Aspiration pneumonia is a common complication in patients with impaired consciousness if general supportive care is not properly administered. There is no country-wide study of the incidence of pneumonia aspiration in hospitalized patients with impaired consciousness. The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence of aspiration pneumonia in patients with impaired consciousness admitted to the tertiary care hospital in our country.
Methods: This was a prospective observational study conducted among 50 adult patients with aspiration pneumonia with impaired consciousness admitted to the Medicine department of Mayo Hospital, Lahore for one-year duration from July 2019 to July 2020. Aspiration pneumonia was confirmed by clinical and laboratory tests. The altered conscious patient was assessed using the Glasgow Coma Scale. Case forms with the appropriate questionnaire were completed for all patients.
Results: The mean age (± SD) was 38.9 ± 17.3 years. The maximum number (24.5%) of patients was found in the age group 51-60 years. The male to female ratio was 3: 1. The most common clinical symptoms were fever, chest pain, and a productive cough. The main triggers were stroke (64%), encephalitis (16%) and hepatic encephalopathy (16%).
Conclusion: The incidence of aspiration pneumonia in patients with impaired consciousness and hospitalization is slightly higher than in other studies that have previously been conducted internationally. The causes of more frequent illnesses may be crowded patients in a small area, malnutrition of patients, lack of knowledge of the caregiver and doctor about aspiration pneumonia prevention and care, poverty and a small number of doctors and nurses in relation to the large number of patients.
Key words: aspiration pneumonia, altered consciousness.