Aspiration pneumonia historical perspective

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Sunny Kumar MD [2], Sadaf Sharfaei M.D.[3]


The literature on aspiration pneumonia came into knowledge of medical society along with the discovery of pneumonia. During 1893, Veillon was first to write about the role of anaerobic bacteria in aspiration pneumonia. The major breakthrough came when x-ray was invented by Roentgen in 1896.

Historical Perspective

Following are important land mark events that shows how aspiration pneumonia became an important entity of critical care:[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Year Events
460 BC–380 BC Hippocrates described pneumonia.
1138–1204 AD Maimonides wrote about pneumonia as "The basic symptoms which occur in pneumonia and which are never lacking are as follows: acute fever, sticking pleuritic pain in the side, short rapid breaths, serrated pulse, and cough."
1875 Edwin Klebs identified bacteria in the airways of individuals who died from pneumonia.
1848 Carl Friedländer identified the two common bacteria such as Streptococcus pneumoniae and Klebsiella pneumoniae that cause pneumonia.
1893 Veillon was first to write about the role of anaerobic bacteria in aspiration pneumonia.
1896 Roentgen described x-rays.
1918 Sir William Osler, known as "the father of modern medicine," appreciated the morbidity and mortality of pneumonia, describing it as the "captain of the men of death."
1927 Smith was first to clearly show anaerobic bacterial growth in animal models suffered from aspiration pneumonia.
1929 Drinker and Shaw announced the invention of the iron lung during the
 polio epidemic.
1985 Specimen collected from patients with aspiration pneumonia were vastly cultured and it was called anaerobic bandwagon.


  1. Japanese Respiratory Society (2009). "Aspiration pneumonia". Respirology. 14 Suppl 2: S59–64. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1843.2009.01578.x. PMID 19857224.
  2. Almirall J, Cabré M, Clavé P (2012). "Complications of oropharyngeal dysphagia: aspiration pneumonia". Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser. 72: 67–76. doi:10.1159/000339989. PMID 23052002.
  3. Marik PE, Careau P (1999). "The role of anaerobes in patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia and aspiration pneumonia: a prospective study". Chest. 115 (1): 178–83. PMID 9925081.
  4. Cordier JF, Cottin V (2013). "Neglected evidence in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: from history to earlier diagnosis". Eur Respir J. 42 (4): 916–23. doi:10.1183/09031936.00027913. PMID 23598958.
  5. Shi X, Zheng J, Yan T (2018). "Computational redesign of human respiratory syncytial virus epitope as therapeutic peptide vaccines against pediatric pneumonia". J Mol Model. 24 (4): 79. doi:10.1007/s00894-018-3613-z. PMID 29500665.
  6. Shen CF, Wang SM, Ho TS, Liu CC (2017). "Clinical features of community acquired adenovirus pneumonia during the 2011 community outbreak in Southern Taiwan: role of host immune response". BMC Infect Dis. 17 (1): 196. doi:10.1186/s12879-017-2272-5. PMC 5341368. PMID 28270104.