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Aspiration pneumonia or foreign body aspiration results from the aspiration of oral or GI content or a foreign body into the tracheobronchial tree usually in patients with impaired consciousness (such as chronic alcoholics or during anesthesia).

A frequent anatomical question is where would you expect the pneumonia or the foreign body to reside.

The answer to that depends on what was the posture of the patient when the aspiration occurred?

  • If the patient was upright then any segment of the right lower lobe or even the left lower lobe is a possibility.
  • If the patient was recumbent while aspirating (e.g a baby inhaled a peanut while lying supine in bed) then in this case the posterior segment of the right upper lobe is the most likely location.
Of course, you all know that the right side is more implicated because of the shorted and straighter right main bronchus.
Have a look at this diagram:

Head White Black Human body Botany

click image to enlarge

You can see how it's logical to have the aspiration going to the posterior segment of the upper lobe in the case of supine position.

Pulmonary Biology in Health and Disease
Harrison's Priniciples of Internal Medicine
Guyton's Physiology
Moore's Anatomy

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