Differences in the Features of Aspiration Pneumonia According to Site of Acquisition: Community or Continuing Care Facility


Address correspondence to Thomas J. Marrie, MD, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, 2J2.01 Walter C. Mackenzie Health Sciences Center, 8440 112 Street, Edmonton, AB, Canada, T6G 2R7. E-mail: tom.marrie@ualberta.ca


OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of aspiration pneumonia and to compare the features and risk factors for this entity in patients from continuing care facilities (CCFs) and the community who were admitted to the hospital with pneumonia.

DESIGN: Prospective population-based study.

SETTING: Six hospitals in Capital Health Region (Edmonton), Alberta, Canada.

PARTICIPANTS: One thousand nine hundred forty-six adults admitted with pneumonia. Patients were stratified by their residence as community or CCF.

MEASUREMENTS: Aspiration pneumonia prevalence; risk factors; and outcomes such as mortality, length of stay, and intensive care unit admission rates.

RESULTS: Ten percent of those with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) had aspirated, compared with 30% of those with CCF-acquired pneumonia. Those with community-acquired aspiration pneumonia (CAAP) and those with CCF-acquired aspiration pneumonia (CCF-AP) were younger, more likely to go to ICU, and more likely to require mechanical ventilation and had a longer length of stay and a higher mortality rate than nonaspirators. The risk factors for aspiration differed; for those with CAAP, impaired consciousness due to alcohol, drugs, or hepatic failure predominated, whereas 72% of those with CCF-AP had neurological disease that resulted in dysphagia. Eighty percent were treated with antibiotics effective against anaerobic bacteria.

CONCLUSION: Aspiration pneumonia is common in patients with both CAP and CCF-acquired pneumonia. The risk factors differ, and there is a high mortality rate. Neurological disease dominates as the predisposing factor toward aspiration pneumonia in people in CCFs.