There are three types of aspiration:

  1. Large foreign bodies or food particles
  2. Liquid aspiration
  3. Bacterial aspiration

Aspiration of solid particles leads to atelectasis and/or recurrent post-obstructive pneumonia. Consequences to liquid aspiration vary depending on the nature of liquid. Acidic stomach contents can lead to diffuse alveolitis and ARDS. Bacterial aspiration leads to lung abscess.

Common predisposing states for aspiration are

Children are prone to aspiration.


Aspiration should be considered if the clinical setting is appropriate in the differential of atelectasis, recurrent pneumonia, ARDS and lung abscess.