The meaning and definition of aspiration in medical terms.


In medicine, aspiration has two meanings, describing the entry of fluid through a suction movement or the removal of fluid through suction. First use generally describes the accidental entry of a liquid or solid into the windpipe (windpipe). and lungs. The second describes the removal of fluid from the body for treatment or diagnostic purposes.

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Airway aspiration

Airway aspiration refers to the aspiration of a foreign substance into the lungs. These can be liquids, food, stomach acids, and even toxic fumes, gases, and particles in the air. When food or liquid "comes in the wrong tube," you experience aspiration.

Aspiration differs from asphyxia in that the airway is not completely blocked. Air continues to flow in and out of the lungs, albeit with an obstruction.

Airway aspiration can be done in the following ways :

  • People can breathe food or liquid into their airways while eating. It is a common complication among people who have had a stroke or traumatic brain injury who are learning to eat again.
  • If drowning occurs, water can enter the lungs .
  • Unconscious people can suck part of their stomach contents into their airways when they vomit. That is why people who undergo general anesthesia must be on an empty stomach.
  • People with chronic reflux can sometimes draw in stomach acid during sleep, especially with Parkinson's disease or swallowing disorder.
  • Newborns who have had their first bowel movement (called meconium) before birth are at risk for aspiration of meconium .
  • People exposed to excessive amounts of smoke, toxic gases, or dust can be injured, sometimes seriously, by prolonged breathing.

Aspiration complications

In many cases, the foreign substance is absorbed into the lungs and is expelled by coughing. However, in some cases, a person may not even be aware that aspiration has occurred, especially if they are elderly, intoxicated, unconscious, or hospitalized using a feeding tube or ventilator.

The main problem with accidental aspiration is the development of a lung infection known as aspiration pneumonia. In most cases, aspiration pneumonia is the result of a bacterial infection.

As long as you suck a foreign substance into the lungs, bacteria that are not normally found in the lungs can be transmitted. This even includes saliva, which contains many aerobic bacteria (which need oxygen to survive) and anaerobic bacteria (those that thrive without oxygen).

Symptoms of aspiration pneumonia can include :

  • Difficulty breathing (shortness of breath)
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Cough, possibly with blood or greenish phlegm
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia )
  • Fatigue
  • Soft spot
  • Hot
  • Profuse sweating
  • Bad breath

If toxic fumes, chemicals, or particles enter the lungs, a type of aspiration pneumonia known as chemical pneumonia can occur. Unlike aspiration pneumonia, chemical pneumonia causes pneumonia, but not infection.

Medical suction aspiration

Aspiration can also refer to the removal of fluid with a needle and syringe or other aspiration device. Medical technology has a dual purpose . It can be used to remove excess harmful fluids from the body. The aspirated fluid can be sent to the pathology lab for analysis.

Desire for treatment

Fluid can build up inside the body for many reasons. In this case, a small amount can be obtained with a needle and syringe. Larger amounts or thicker liquid may need to be drained over a period of time using a thin plastic tube. Some of the reasons that aspiration may be required to treat a medical condition include:

  • Infection: When the body is fighting an infection, dead white blood cells can combine with body fluids and other dead cells to form pus. Pus can collect in the area of infection and may need to be drained to relieve pain or help with treatment. An example of this is abscess drainage .
  • Effusion and bleeding: Sometimes other fluids can build up inside the body and cause problems. Examples include pleural effusion, in which fluid collects in the space between the lining of the lungs and the chest wall, and internal bleeding, in which blood can collect within the abdomen or other organs.
  • Joint inflammation: Sometimes the joints can swell due to excessive amounts of synovial fluid . Synovial fluid is a viscous substance that helps lubricate the joint space. After injury or inflammation, synovial fluid can accumulate excessively and combine with other body fluids released during inflammation. Removal of fluid from the joint space is called arthrocentesis .
  • Arthritis – People with arthritis and other conditions that affect joint mobility can benefit from injecting lubricating fluids such as hyaluronic acid into the joint space. Before this, it may be necessary to remove the synovial fluid to make room for the fluid to be injected.
  • Airway clearance: A suction device may be required to keep the airway clear in people with a tracheostomy (a breathing tube that is inserted through the neck into the windpipe).
  • Abortion Vacuum aspiration is a technique that is sometimes used during early abortion, usually between 5 and 12 weeks gestation .

Commitment to diagnosis

Whether used alone or in combination with a treatment, body fluid drainage can provide doctors with a clue as to the cause of the disease. These may include procedures such as fine needle aspiration (FNA) with a smaller gauge needle and a core needle biopsy (CNB) with a larger needle to remove fluids, tissues, and cells. Some of the conditions in which aspiration can be used for diagnosis include:

  • How to tell if a tumor contains cancer cells
  • Liquid culture to detect strains of bacteria or fungi
  • Stain the liquid to determine the types of bacteria under a microscope.
  • Liquid test for crystals (such as gout or pseudogout )
  • Remove amniotic fluid or placental tissue during pregnancy to detect congenital diseases.
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