Retained Food During Esophagogastroduodenoscopy Is a Risk Factor for Gastric-to-Pulmonary Aspiration

Aoife M. Feighery, Nicholas R. Oblizajek, Matthew N.P. Vogt, Danse Bi, John League, Navtej S. Buttar, David O. Prichard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Residual food (RF) during esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is thought, but not proven, to be a risk factor for gastric-to-pulmonary aspiration. Aims: The aims of this study were to determine the prevalence of RF during EGD, to investigate whether RF was associated with an increased risk of aspiration, especially when monitored anesthesia care (MAC) or general anesthesia (GA) were administered, and to determine whether aspiration associated with RF led to a more severe clinical outcome. Methods: Patients undergoing EGD between October 2012 and September 2018 were identified. Patient age, sex, aspiration events, RF, sedation type, structural foregut abnormalities, and diagnoses associated with impaired esophageal or gastric motility were noted. The clinical course after an aspiration event was evaluated. Results: RF was identified during 4% of 81,367 EGDs. Aspiration events occurred during 41 (5/10,000) procedures. Aspiration was more likely to occur in patients with RF (odds ratio [OR] 15.1) or those receiving MAC or GA (OR 9.6 and 16.8 relative to conscious sedation, respectively). RF and MAC/GA were synergistically associated with increased odds of aspiration. In a multivariate nominal logistic regression model, older age (OR 2.6), MAC (OR 3.8), GA (OR 4.4), vagotomy (OR 5.2), achalasia (OR 3.8), and RF (OR 10.0) were risk factors for aspiration. Aspiration events in the presence or absence of RF led to similar clinical outcomes. Conclusions: While aspiration events are rare in patients undergoing EGD, RF and the use of MAC or GA were associated with substantially increased odds of aspiration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-172
Number of pages9
JournalDigestive diseases and sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Aspiration pneumonia
  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy
  • Gastric emptying
  • Instrumentation: anesthesia
  • Pneumonitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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