Perioperative pulmonary aspiration of gastric contents can induce complications of varying severity, including aspiration pneumonitis or pneumonia, which may be lethal. A 34-year-old man with no significant medical history presented to Okayama University Hospital for extraction of the third molars and incisive canal cystectomy under general anesthesia. He experienced pulmonary aspiration of clear stomach fluid during mask ventilation after induction. After aspiration occurred, the patient was immediately intubated, and suctioning was performed through the endotracheal tube (ETT). An anteroposterior (AP) chest radiograph was obtained that demonstrated atelectasis in the left lower lobe, in addition to increased peak airway pressures being noted, although SpO2 remained at 96% to 99% at an FiO2 of 1.0. The decision was made to proceed, and the scheduled procedures were completed in approximately 2 hours. A repeat AP chest radiograph obtained at the end of the operation revealed improvement of the atelectasis, and no residual atelectasis was observed on the next day. Although the patient reported following standard preoperative fasting instructions (no fluids for 2 hours preoperatively), more than 50 mL of clear fluid remained in his stomach. Because vomiting can occur despite following NPO guidelines, the need for continued vigilance by anesthesia providers and proper timely management is reinforced.
- General anesthesia
- Respiratory aspiration
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine