symptoms of Aspiration (?)

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Active member
Dec 29, 2006
I have had a few instances of aspiration of phlegm, with the usual coughing and gasping until the material is eventually cleared from the airway.

Is it possible to aspirate a small piece of food WITHOUT any of those symptoms? If one were to do so - again, without any of the acute manifestations - what WOULD be the eventual symptoms of having done so?

I am a bit worried, but don't really know that I have a problem.

Anyone here been there, done that, and an give me a clue?

Thanks in advance
Slient Aspiration

A few months ago I had this same question. What I learned was there is Slient Aspiration that can occur when the food or drink goes down the wrong way and into the lungs.

The symptoms my PALS experienced were increased and/or excessive slivia and runny nose.

We also learned that this is a sure sign (if it happens frequently) that it may be time for a feeding tube. It may also help to use a product to thicken the liquids you consume.

Hope this helps.
if you are feeling you may be aspirating you need to get your lungs listened to regularly now, because these aspirations will lead to pneumonia....this has happened 3 times to my husband. We have a home health nurse come twice a week and listen to his lungs....he regularly uses a nebulizer and then bronchodilator 'albuterol' now, which can help clear smaller aspirations. Cough Assist machines are good for those with inability to cough strongly. If you can still cough stuff up that is very good and will go a long way to keeping you healthy.
Stay very aware of this as it is life-threatening. Now my husband is more aware of subtle signs of aspiration and can tell, but early on he didnt realize.
Take Care, Beth (CALS to Shannon, diagnoseded 8/04 at age 40)
Hi JustMe,

I aspirated pretty bad several times before I was trached. My lung muscles were too weak to cough it up, but the "cough assist" machine works great for that. I am sure that is why I have never had pneumonia. Even with the trach, I still use it when secretions get too thick for the suction machine.

My dad went to a speech therapist who also helped examine eating problems. A barium swallow test was ordered to see if he was aspirating food or drink without realizing it. Based on the results the therapist was able to make recommendations for how to prepare food (what consistency) and how to position the head and neck while eating. My dad would swallow, then say "AHH" and if it sounded at all gurgly, he was supposed to cough several times to clear the airway. This made eating somewhat arduous, but he felt less anxious when his "AHH" was clear sounding.
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