IS Case 418: Severe aspiration

Alok Bhatt, MD

University of Rochester

Imaging Sciences URMC 2010
Publication Date: 2010-08-27


Patient is an 8-month-old male with history of hypotonia and recurrent pneumonias. Currently being worked up for a metabolic disorder. Evaluation for aspiration using a salivagram.


After administration of 0.1 mCi of technetium sulfur colloid sublingually, images revealed a large amount of abnormal radiotracer in the tracheobronchial distribution.


Severe aspiration


Frequently hospitalizations for lung and upper respiratory disease due to aspiration is commonly seen in children. Aspiration can be caused by gastroesophageal reflux or during swallowing due to neurologic disorders, structural lesions, or connective tissue diseases. Salivagrams have a high specificity for detecting aspiration of oral secretions, but also have a high rate of false negative results. .


  1. Akbunar AT, Kiristioglu I, Alper E, Demiray H. Diagnosis of orotracheal aspiration using radionuclide salivagram. Ann Nucl Med. 2003 Jul;17(5):415-6. PMID: 12971643
  2. Heyman S, Respondek M. Detection of pulmonary aspiration in children by radionuclide "salivagram". J Nucl Med. 1989 May;30(5):697-9. PMID: 2715832

1 image