Surviving aspiration pneumonia. Possible?

Has anyone on here loved one (or self) survived aspiration pneumonia?

Husband just diagnosed with it in hospital and is very ill. Is this a death sentence?

I am so freaked out by all of this and do not know what to expect. Any and all input would be appreciated.



44 Replies

  • Awe Jayne I'm so sorry to hear this! Currently I don't have any experience in this and can only sending you both my thoughts, prayers and love x

  • Thanks S, thoughts, prayers & love are always appreciated and it looks like they worked!

    X Jayne

  • Good to hear Jayne n I'm pleased your managing some rest! I agree though it's much much more tiring when they are in hospital going back n forth, knackering actually!! X

  • How worrying for you Jayne. My friends husband survived twice with aspirational pneumonia with antibiotics and steroids. He had motor neurone disease. Unfortunately he didn't survive the third attack but by then the MD was very advanced.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you both.


  • Thanks Heady. And he is finally doing much better!

    x Jayne

  • Hi Jayne

    I'm so sorry to hear your news.

    I don't know and it probably depends a lot on the individuals 'underlying healthiness' at the time.

    Wishing you both the very best and thinking of you both.



  • Kevin, he is a strong man and a fighter! This just took me by surprise as he has been doing pretty well lately so I was not mentally or emotionally prepared to deal with this right now.

    X Jayne

  • Wonderful.

    Thinking of you both.




  • So sorry to hear goldcap . Stats seem to be 70% not surviving. Will depend on whether he wants to I guess. You may have a little more time if the previous antibiotic helped the other infection.

    i would prepare yourself. And no, is no easy, but the doctors may give more info. If they give adifferent antibiotic they may think he has a chance.

    Same thing happened to my man unexpectedly, but he had been getting weaker and having difficulty swallowing.

    I will be think of you and praying for you both. Heaps of hugs. Xxxxx Jen

  • Jen, looks like he is beating the odds! They tried several antibiotics and it looks like the latest is starting to work as his fever is coming down and he is eating a bit! His swallowing has become more of an issue lately as well. You just get lured into thinking it is all going to be ok (at least for an undefined for a while) with this disease, and then it rears it's ugly head as if to say see that's what you get for becoming complacent! I think everyone's communal prayers and well wishes are working. Or maybe by making me feel better I communicated this to him. So thanks:)

    X Jayne

  • Hi Jayne, pneumonia is survived everyday, so I don't see why aspiration pneumonia can't be got over as well. Obviously it will be a fight, but with the right drugs and lots of will power, hopefully he will survive.

    Sending you a very large hug and lots of love at this trying time. Remember to look after yourself as well. Your husband needs you to be at 100% at the moment.

    Lot of love


  • Hi Heady, looks like he is going to be ok now! The latest antibiotic is working. His fever only spikes in the middle of the night-don't know why that is.

    And I have been looking after myself. Previous hospitalizations I stayed at the hospital most nights. The past couple of nights I stay late but come home and have a bath and a glass (or two:) of wine and get a good night's sleep in my own bed so I can start over fresh in the morning. This hospital stuff back and forth is more exhausting than caregiving I think. I take breaks throughout the day and go out in the sunshine for a walk. Seems to lift my spirits. I hope you are still feeling the effects of your time out. Oh my, that sounds like you did something wrong and had to sit in the corner doesn't it?!

    Lots of love to you both as well!

  • That's great news on both fronts. Glad Hubby is starting to feel better and the antibiotics are kicking in. Also that they have recommended extra care, when he is ready to leave hospital.

    Well done you, looking after yourself, its SO important. If they do manage to get him into a rehab facility, then take some time out for yourself. He won't need you to be there all the time, so a quick in and out, to reassure you both, will be fine. You know what babies men can be over illness, let others deal with the aftermath of the pneumonia, so you can build up the extra strength, needed to cope with the bigger enemy!!!

    Lots of love


  • Brian has had asperation pneumonia at least twice. Both times he has managed to recover. But it does weaken them. Janexx

  • Jane, he is going to be ok! But he is a whole lot weaker and exhibiting more progressed symptoms of PSP now. When his temperature returns to normal and he is strong enough, the doctor is going to recommend sending him to a rehabilitation facility before he comes home. Should help him regain some of his strength. Was Brian hospitalized both times?

    XX Jayne

  • Yes he was in hospital both times that it was a definite diognoses and both times the psp advanced. It seems it is the infections that make them worse for some unknown reason. He was on a platuex for such a long time then he dropped over the cliff with the pneumonia. Janexx

  • My guy had a very light bout last winter and recovered quickly. Except for the psp, though, he's very healthy. My thoughts are with you, Jayne. Love, ec

  • A long time ago, pneumonia was referred to as "the old man's friend." We have lost that idea with the advent of antibiotics, of course. And here we are.

    It's so hard to accept death these days, with all the medical intervention available. We keep fighting the inevitable, no matter where we are on life's journey. We say " not yet, not yet." My mother has just declined a minor heart operation because, as she says, it's meant to prevent her sudden death from heart failure, and sudden death is basically the best, as far as she is concerned. She is 89, and has had a good life, so this isn't tragic, just sensible. We would like her to be immortal, or at least make 100, but she's wiser. She enjoys life, but doesn't want to risk her independence for more of it. It has been a hard conversation, but I'm glad we were able to have it. She is not, by the way, religious, so isn't sugar coating this decision with that.

    So when do we stop? Easier to make that decision for ourselves than for our loved ones. It has been suggested that I put a DNR order in my man's file, He isn't able to agree, so it's entirely up to me. I would want it for myself, it is the wise thing to do, and I know I should do it before some crisis arises, but I haven't yet.

    Round and round. Sorry if this is no help, Jayne, dear. I am thinking of you and sending hugs, and love, ec

  • EC you are so right about ladies of a certain age. M's mum is 97 fighting fit argumentative stubborn has mobility issues but that does not stop her but she always says she wants to depart quickly when the time comes she hates the idea of being 100 but while she wants to see what tomorrow brings she enjoys the day. She has drawn up a DNR and drawn up her funeral plans (it is M's sister who does not like talking about it). Mum-in-law is more concerned about M.

    My worry is that I will have a double funeral as they are probably keeping each other fighting on. I think the summer has allowed both to sit in the nursing home garden or on the prom together and recharge each other and bond even more, so I am not looking forward to the Autumn or winter when outside sorties will be limited.

    Sorry to waffle on but your comments on your mother were so true.

    Best wishes Tim

  • EC, it is helpful! He does have a DNR but there are clauses in it. I think I totally confused the doctor when he questioned me about it. I can't help it. I don't want him to suffer but for some reason it does not feel like it is his time to go yet. I went through some of the same things with my mom when she passed from heart issues. She did not want to fight anymore and it was so hard to let go. I feel like there has been too much death and dying in my life (redundant I know). I am going to try and find some joy in my life before I forget how.

    Take care,

    x Jayne

  • I know nothing except to say it is how healthy he was prior to the pneumonia....If his body is strong in good health, I believe he has a greater chance for a speedy recovery...Also the earlier the better...that's true with any (Non progressive) disease! It will be up to the health care givers also ....and your own attitude....try to relax and focus on him getting better...

    Be calm,,,,,Is he in the hospital?


  • AVB, he has been in the hospital all week. He is getting better, slowly. Funny you mentioned my attitude. When I stopped crying everytime I looked at him and started whispering encouraging words to him, he became more responsive. The first 24 hours were pretty bleak but he is improving now. Thanks for your imput.

    Best, Jayne

  • My prayersand thoughts are with you. This is a hard one. It is out of your hands people do survive this and some do not. I pray you find peace while you wait this out. You are an amazing support take comfort in knowing that. Hugs.

  • Noella, he is doing much better! I know this scenario will probably play out again (maybe more than once) as he has declined a PEG from the get go. But for now he is going to be ok and I can live with that!

    XX Jayne

  • That's good to hear, Jayne. I'm very happy for you!

  • My hopes and best wishes for a successful treatment pneumonia is curable but takes a lot of energy and will to survive. First bouts fairly good survival if caught early with antibiotics and the patient fights, but be aware it is the usual way for PSP to take its final curtain.

    Best wishes and support Tim

  • Tim, the hospital now has an infectious disease specialist on staff. Sharp doctor-for a change. Apparently he has had this for quite some time. He started a new antibiotic IV yesterday and it is working! So fingers crossed he will be coming home soon. Don't delude myself that this will never occur again, I know the stats especially without a PEG are grim. Going to appreciate the little time he has left a little more now since this close call. Made me realize I am not ready to lose him yet. As if it will ever be a "good" time.

    Thanks for your input & support,


  • You mentioned rehab before. Is he coming straight home?

  • EC, no, just got word they are taking him by ambulance to a rehabilitation facility as the hospital he is in currently does not have one. He is now fever free but very weak. He has been there before and they did amazing things with him. Got him up and walking a bit last time but do not know if that will be possible this time around. Right before I took him to the ER he had jelly legs and could not support his own weight. When I went to transfer him from the bed to his chair as usual his legs gave out completely under him and he went down. I could not lift him up. This is the first time this has happened. I just made him comfortable on the floor and called someone to come and help me lift him. It took two of us to get him up and it was still a struggle. I don't know what I am going to do if they are not able to help him regain the ability aid in transferring. Our downsized home is already pretty tight with chairs, walkers and what not. I do not know where a hoist would fit but I may have no alternative if I want to keep him at home. I have help but not full time. I do not want him to be bedridden. I just read your other post about your inclement weather. We are spoiled here. The weather has been just amazing! But I know how you feel about being anxious about all of the things you had wanted to accomplish before winter. My to do list just keeps getting longer and this past week I have been keeping vigil at the hospital so I did not get anything accomplished especially paperwork and legal matters. I'm a procrastinator which does not help. This whole thing has shook me up pretty badly. I had such a false sense of security. He was doing pretty well before this happened and now...Sorry I have rambled I could not sleep. Tired now but think I am going to head over to the hospital. Thanks for caring,


  • Is the hospital far away? Maybe you could get someone to drive you....If you are tired going , you are going to be exhausted coming home which can be dangerous driving. I am glad the weather is good just gives one a sense of happiness even if much else does not get done...and don't worry about anything else.

    If they have OT/PT at the rehab, you might ask them for safe and effective ways to roll; transfer; lift your husband..from bed or he still eating mashed food?

    ..And Jane you are doing everything you can, This is a good time to ask for someone to come out and assess whether a lift can be used, if/when needed in your house...

    I too have lost my mom, and my husband has kept me going. I too have got to keep joy within reach as it is easy to slip and fall into depression...Take care of yourself missy find soemthing fun or rejuvenating to do while your husband rehabilitates....

    ((Big Hugs to You))


  • This is such a hard one Jayne. My wife died at home with aspirational pneumonia and I have worried this past seven years whether or not she could have been saved had there been more medical intervention. Like Heady has said pneumonia isn’t the killer it once was. The only consolation I can find is “saved” for more years of what? M was at this time bed ridden, starting to develop pressure sores in spite of air mattress etc. and there is no need to explain further her symptoms on this site. I was however aware that when she was able to attend the hospice she declined to have DNR put on her notes, so her wish was clearly at that time to survive, come what may, she was far more courageous than I. My feelings on the matter are more in line with those expressed in easterncedar’s post.

    Whatever the outcome Jayne, the experience will strengthen you and ultimately be for the best, hard as it may seem at the time. Meanwhile, I hope you get all the support you need.

    Kindest regards,


  • You OK Jerry? It's not like you to blame yourself for M's death. Like you answered yourself, "saved" for what, so the next bout could get her, or even crueler way to go. You know and I know, you did EVERYTHING in your power to look after M and did it extremely well. I wish I had half the courage I know you to have!

    Lots of love


  • I'm fine thank you Heady. I simply wish this site had been available to me when I was in the caring role, I felt a bit of a lone sole in a wilderness. I did get tremendous help from social services and the local hospice but feel I should have been far more assertive with the GP service, which in retrospect was frankly abysmal. On no occasion was Margaret referred to hospital even when she had the pneumonia from which she eventually died. It seems from posts on this site that many of those who go to hospital recover at least once and sometimes twice but it may simply have served to prolong the agony as it were. There seems to be no "least worst option" with this wretched disease.

    I hope to see you and S next week and that your 'post respite boost' is still sustaining you.

    Kindest regards,


  • Lasted until Saturday night!!! But that has to be a huge record, normally it's 10 minutes from getting him in the house.

    Yes, we are planning to be there on Thursday, see you then.

    Lots of love


  • Jerry, you did the best you could with where you were at the time-we all do. I understand the "shoulda coulda woulda's" all too well. My husband kept giving me the thumbs down on going to the hospital this time. I finally convinced him to go.Tonight when I left him he looked so fragile even though he is doing so much better. I thought to myself what have I done here? But then I realized if he did not want to fight he would not be recovering. I don't think when you and your wife are reunited in the afterlife she will be holding a grudge! Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is ourselves...

    I wish you peace,


  • Thank you Jayne,

    Not having any faith, I am trying to ensure we are reunited in the future but as a Bluebell. I scattered my wife’s ashes over a bluebell patch amongst some trees at the bottom of my little field and have asked the children to do the same with mine. With a bit of luck some nutrient from each of us may feed the same flower and in that way bring us together again.

    Whilst the family could see their mum as a bluebell they jokingly suggested it was more likely I’d pop up in an adjacent nettle - at least I think they were joking!!!

    I hope your news continues in a positive way. My best wishes and kind regards,


  • Jerry a bluebell mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

  • Guess the kids might be right - it'll be a first!!!

  • Aspiration pneumonia is caused when bits of food and bacteria in the mouth make their way to the lungs. It's really an indication of a swallowing problem, whether that's related to issues related to managing saliva in the mouth so that it doesn't spill over into the back of the throat and eventually into the lung or something is happening when he's eating. It's definitely possible to survive aspiration pneumonia but I'd really recommend that he have a speech therapist working with him to address swallowing so that you are addressing the underlying problem and not contributing to the issue on an ongoing basis. I'm sorry you're dealing with this - I know it's scary. I assume that the doctors put him on some antibiotics. Make sure that he's working with the speech therapist (and perhaps an occupational therapist). They will treat the underlying issue and give you tips for how to improve his ability at mealtimes to minimize the potential that ongoing swallowing problems are continuing to contribute to the issue.

  • jd, he is on an antibiotic that is working finally! He has been hospitalized several times for other issues and each time he is reevaluated by a speech therapist and dietician. He has had two swallow evaluations. One they let me watch from the scanning room. It was very interesting to watch him swallow in real time. It helped me understand the process a whole lot better. He was on a mechanical chopped (and thickened liquid diet) before this happened. That is what is so scary about all of this. That with all the precautions we were taking it still managed to occur. He has a written statement declining a PEG so we really have nowhere else to go from here and I now we will be revisiting this situation in the future. Hopefully the swallow therapist will have more suggestions going forward.

  • My wife had to be hospitalized twice due to aspiration pneumonia and was treated with antibiotics successfully each time, but it definitely wiped her out each time. She passed this past July 9th due to aspiration pneumonia. This time, by the time I took her to the hospital, her right lung was 2/3 clogged. Because so much if her lung was filled, there was little air going through that side and no one could hear the normal "crackles", even her Pulmonolgist. We tried antibiotics for 3 days and the situation was only getting worse. So we finally made the decision to stop treatment, remove the oxygen, and halt suctioning. THE hardest decision I've ever made in my entire life. But I knew if she survived this bout, it would eventually reoccur and take her life.

    God bless you during this time.


  • K, my husband has had several chest x rays that were declared,"fairly normal". One doctor actually said," Well there is just a little bit of pneumonia in one long but it;s just the kind old people get". This was last month when he went to the ER for chest pain and shortness of breath! They did a whole cardiac workup but neglected what was right in front of there faces! He is weaker now, I can see that. And I do not know how many bouts of this he can handle. I think you made the right decision. And a very hard one. All of this is so hard. Honestly I still don't know how I am managing it all. Thanks for replying. It means a lot to me.

    Peace, Jayne

  • Thanks Jayne. I'll be praying for you both.


  • Thinking of you, Jayne. How are you? Fall arrived yesterday, going from weirdly hot, as it has been for three months, to suddenly cold after a thunderstorm overnight. I have been looking forward to the change of seasons, but instead I'm feeling anxious and sad. All the things I need to take care of before winter that I should have had done by now are piling up, and my guy is inching away. I am concerned about you, too! Drop us a line when you can, please. Love, ec

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