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Aspiration Following Elective IntubationAspiration Following Elective Intubation FREE TO VIEW

J. Kyle Bohman, MD
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From the Department of Anesthesia, Division of Critical Care Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.

CORRESPONDENCE TO: J. Kyle Bohman, MD, Department of Anesthesiology, Division of Critical Care Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55905; e-mail: bohman.john@mayo.edu


FINANCIAL/NONFINANCIAL DISCLOSURES: The author has reported to CHEST that no potential conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2014;146(4):e145. doi:10.1378/chest.14-1459
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Published online
To the Editor:

We have additional findings regarding our study in CHEST (May 2013)1 of gastric-to-pulmonary aspiration in adult surgical patients undergoing elective intubation. The original study used an enzymatic assay for identification of pepsin A. Since publication, our group has validated an enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) for pepsin A, which we subsequently used to analyze the same airway samples collected in our previous study.1

Briefly, pepsin A was detected by incubating with biotin-conjugated polyclonal antibody against porcine pepsin A (Abcam plc) that recognizes human pepsin A. The bound biotin-polyclonal antibody was detected by adding HRP-streptavidin (Abcam plc). The ELISA sensitivity threshold is 0.1 ng/mL compared with the sensitivity threshold of 25 ng/mL for the pepsin A enzymatic assay. In our original publication, we reported a 0% rate of aspiration using the enzymatic assay for pepsin A.1 However, using the more sensitive ELISA on the same airway samples, we have detected a 4% rate of aspiration. The ELISA is more sensitive than the enzymatic assay, likely due to its ability to detect partially degraded pepsin A. Thus, it appears that although the rate of gastric-to-pulmonary aspiration is very low (4% in adults without risk factors for aspiration undergoing elective intubation), it is higher than previously reported using the enzymatic assay for pepsin A.

Furthermore, in a different sample of 16 adult surgical patients with risk factors for microaspiration (including BMI > 30 kg/m2, diabetes, or gastroesophageal reflux disease),2,3 we used the recently validated ELISA and discovered a rate of gastric-to-pulmonary aspiration of 12.5% (as indicated by the presence of pepsin A in the airway) following elective intubation. The number of subjects in the study was insufficient to statistically determine whether the rate of aspiration in those with risk factors for microaspiration (12.5%) is greater than in those without risk factors for microaspiration (4%).

Acknowledgments

Other contributions: All reported research was approved following review by the Mayo Clinic institutional review board (IRB 10-008019 and 12-007781).

Bohman JK, Kor DJ, Kashyap R, et al. Airway pepsin levels in otherwise healthy surgical patients receiving general anesthesia with endotracheal intubation. Chest. 2013;143(5):1407-1413. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Olsson GL, Hallen B, Hambraeus-Jonzon K. Aspiration during anaesthesia: a computer-aided study of 185,358 anaesthetics. Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 1986;30(1):84-92. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Ng A, Smith G. Gastroesophageal reflux and aspiration of gastric contents in anesthetic practice. Anesth Analg. 2001;93(2):494-513. [PubMed]
 

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References

Bohman JK, Kor DJ, Kashyap R, et al. Airway pepsin levels in otherwise healthy surgical patients receiving general anesthesia with endotracheal intubation. Chest. 2013;143(5):1407-1413. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Olsson GL, Hallen B, Hambraeus-Jonzon K. Aspiration during anaesthesia: a computer-aided study of 185,358 anaesthetics. Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 1986;30(1):84-92. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Ng A, Smith G. Gastroesophageal reflux and aspiration of gastric contents in anesthetic practice. Anesth Analg. 2001;93(2):494-513. [PubMed]
 
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