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Bacteriology of Aspiration Pneumonia: A Prospective Study of Community- and Hospital-Acquired Cases

BENNETT LORBER, M.D.; and ROBERT M. SWENSON, M.D.
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Dr. Swenson is an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Bennett Lorber, M.D., Section of Infectious Diseases, Health Sciences Center, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19140.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Ann Intern Med. 1974;81(3):329-331. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-81-3-329
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We prospectively studied 24 cases of community-acquired aspiration pneumonia and 23 cases of hospital-acquired aspiration pneumonia, with special attention to their microbiology. Specimens were obtained by transtracheal aspiration or thoracentesis and were processed with appropriate anaerobic and standard bacteriologic methods. Quantitative cultures were done, and numbers of 106/ml or greater were considered significant. Anaerobic bacteria were isolated from 21 of 24 community-acquired infections and, in 13 cases, were the only isolates. In the hospital-acquired infections anaerobes were found in 8 of 23 cases and were the only isolates in 2 cases. Gram-negative facultative anaerobes and aerobes were common in the hospital-acquired infections. Community- and hospital-acquired aspiration pneumonias are bacteriologically different. The causative organisms reflect the oropharyngeal flora, and the anaerobic bacteria seem to be important pathogens in both community- and hospital-acquired cases.

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