Keep from getting Aspiration Pneumonia

My guy is having trouble clearing his throat. It is like he does not have enough breath or energy to clear it out. How do I know if he is having aspiration Pneumonia if there is not any green coming out. I do not want to wait till the green stuff comes. I want to try and treat him before it gets too bad. He is on hospice, but they say his lungs sound clear.

Should I try the GP that knows nothing about PSP? I have heard some of you talking about a suction machine. I'm not sure if he needs that, or what I should do to help him.

Any advice will be appreciated. Thank you, Deb

19 Replies

  • Does there have to be signs on an x-ray of pneumonia before anything can be done by the doctors?

  • Hi - it's great you are being proactive - my dad's lungs were clear on hearing too but an X-ray indicated some aspiration - so an X-ray can help

    Not being able to clear the throat does become a problem - one trick is to try and tilt the patient on side with their head on the side and tilted downwards a bit so that any phlegm etc can trickle onto the sides of the cheeks and out - I would put my dad on the side and wait for the mucus/saliva to slide to the side and then suction it out with a suction machine

  • Ditto!


  • They told us that if aspiration occurred that he would be flushed and hot and be agitated but Dad showed none of these symptoms. He was just generally off colour. He is in hospital at the mo on an antibiotic drip. X

  • My dad complained about pain in his 'ribs' blaming the fact that I had had to get him in and out of bed a couple of times, dragging and pulling him - but his breathing was very short and laboured and he was very tired/weak, but no fever. He had no noise on his lungs initially, so the doctor took some blood which showed bacterial infection, so she prescribed antibiotics. The next day, he developed a temperature, she checked his lungs, now there was noise. My dad also takes a mucus-loosening drink in the morning.

  • What is the name of this drink please

  • It's Fluimucil (in Belgium) - if you can't find it under that name, look for another product that contains Acetylcysteine (a medication used to treat paracetamol overdose and to loosen thick mucus such as in cystic fibrosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.) I'm sure there's similar stuff in the UK/US. It helped a little bit. Comes as powder or tablets.

  • Will ask the palatine care about th fluilucil when I see her next

  • I will ask the palliative care nurse about the fluilucil when I see her next . . Have af no adverse dude effects hiding the glycopperate . It did work but but hit or miss now

  • My husband was having choking episodes and a ghastly sounding chest.GP checked himbut no chest infections or temperature.The SALT team recomended Atropine drops under the tongue one 4 x daily to dry up secretions.What a difference,amazing x

  • Atropine has been miraculous for my guy, too!

  • Is he able to drink , do u use any thickener

  • Cabbagecottage, I use a thickener in his liquids. He has to have all other food ground up, and then he drinks it through a straw. They did a barium swallow and said he had some aspiration, however, that was about a year ago.

    I am trying to stay pro active, but run into brick walls sometimes.

    Thank you for the replies.

  • So difficult I know. What thickener are you using. We were first prescribed thick and easy but the dietician changed it to Nutilis. It's much nicer . Still no taste but easier to mix and spsoesnt drop to the bottom f not drunk straight away .

    I have tried using the atropine drops and the Hyoscine patch which goes behind the ear but they causes awful hallucination more choking and confusion .

    At present I am using glycopperate drops Its administered by syringe very easy to use .

    If he is very bad I have Also tried using a mucus cough medicine to try and break it up for him

  • hi deb

    sorry i don't know what to suggest


  • Definitely need to get a suction machine. I truly believe once a patient is diagnosed with PSP, they should have a suction machine made available. It has saved us countless trips to the hospital emergency room by having one on hand. For less than $500 US, you can get a really good one. And that's only a fraction of a single ER trip. We use ours every single day, especially after brushing teeth. My wife is now in her 7th of 8th year with PSP, but we've had one for at least 3 years.


  • A bit of useless info really, but I have been told today that aspiration pneumonia only occurs on right side of lung because of way a body functions. Made sense at the time!

    Anyone else been told this?

  • Bruce cannot cough any better than he can speak or swallow. He still is choking on his stupid Tamsilosin....I can't find this med in anything but capsule he has to swallow.... But the suction machine, directed by him, can retrieve the caapsule from his throat if it suddenly finds a home in his esophagus! The suction machine is as much a necessary item in our home as the toilet....I can't imagine life without it ....yes I can but tha'ts a difft story!

    Your guy may not have pneumonia even though he chokes...Though that is indeed how one gets it. If you haven't got a suction machine yet, get one! even with his meds to dry up saliva, Bruce needs that machine! Life sucks....


  • abirke, I have ask our hospice team to bring me a suction machine. My guy is willing to try it. It breaks my heart when he gets into these coughing spells and cannot get it up. Thank you

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