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Spent 3 hours in the ER for acid reflux--aspirated it into my lungs
Posted by: Grumpyguy
Date: July 04, 2011 01:55PM
Went to bed around 11 last night and around midnight I woke up suddenly with acid reflux.

I was so started that I inhaled it into my lungs(aspirated?).

Some of the worst I've ever felt. My right lung felt it was on fire and it triggered my asthma, plus it felt like I had a 200 pound weight on my chest.

Then the damned acid reflux wouldn't stop. My Capidex wouldn't help, baking soda (yes baking soda usually relieves my acid reflux) wouldn't work.

I was so miserable and the pain was so bad in my lungs--plus I couldn't breathe--I drove myself to the ER around 4 am.

The doc gave my some kind of Lidocaine elixir which did stop the acid from coming up, but he couldn't offer any help for the acid I gulped into my lungs except to take an extra dose of my Advair and use Provental as needed.

Long story short, my throat feels like it was scrubbed with steel wool and basically it feels like I have asthma with a lot of mucus in my lungs, though I can breathe much easier now.

Has anyone ever had that happen with acid reflux, where they aspirated it into their lungs? How long to you could breathe better and how long to recover?

As far as what caused this bout of acid reflux--I went to a picnic last night--I'm trying to lose weight, so I didn't each a lot, but I did have watermelon and that is what I tasted all last night.

Another food off my list.



Bryan
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Re: Spent 3 hours in the ER for acid reflux--aspirated it into my lungs
Posted by: freeradical
Date: July 04, 2011 02:25PM
OUCH
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Re: Spent 3 hours in the ER for acid reflux--aspirated it into my lungs
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: July 04, 2011 02:30PM
Sounds awful. For future reference, how does one keep from doing this?
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Re: Spent 3 hours in the ER for acid reflux--aspirated it into my lungs
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: July 04, 2011 02:31PM
Grumpy... I've aspirated what is technically referred to as 'vomitus' (that's what you got coming up there.). It used to happen once a month or so. Then I stopped snacking close to bedtime, and that.. stopped.

Usually I would gargle with lukewarm mild salt water afterwards, deliberately 'breathing' in a small amount of vapor and then cough it back out. And yeah... triggers my asthma too, requiring a shot of albuterol. I've even used my nebulizer to 'irrigate' my lungs with warm saline... it sounds weird, but it did help quite nicely.

Good luck with the weight... as you know, it's the #1 cause of reflux.
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Re: Spent 3 hours in the ER for acid reflux--aspirated it into my lungs
Posted by: The UnDoug
Date: July 04, 2011 02:45PM
About a week ago, I woke up in the middle of the night coughing after having had acid reflux, and then swallowed a bit of it.

Nastiest taste ever!

I sipped some water, rinsed my mouth out, ate some Rolaids, but it persisted for a little while (like 15 minutes). Obviously, my bout was less severe than yours, but it is horrid!
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Re: Spent 3 hours in the ER for acid reflux--aspirated it into my lungs
Posted by: Joey Cupcakes
Date: July 04, 2011 02:56PM
I've had serious reflux issues most of my life (sliding haital hernia actually kept me out of the Army in 1972)- but have never gone through whjat you describe. My sympathies and good luck wityh the weight loss.

My reflux is mostly under control with Pantoprazole, but losing 30 lbs would be a better long term solution. Thyroid problems have made that a lifelong struggle.
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Re: Spent 3 hours in the ER for acid reflux--aspirated it into my lungs
Posted by: vision63
Date: July 04, 2011 03:28PM
That would totally freak me out. Feel better man.
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Re: Spent 3 hours in the ER for acid reflux--aspirated it into my lungs
Posted by: GeneL
Date: July 04, 2011 05:29PM
It seems that I hear about reflux disease more and more often.

I've been taking medication for it for years. It's been Nexium twice a day for years, now.

Like you others, it appears that my reflux problems affect me in my sleep. I have sleep apnea and use a CPAP, but I still end up with a breathing and throat problem because of reflux.

What particularly bothers me is that I had a major operation (lap Nissen fundiplication) to wrap my stomach around my esophagus, which was supposed to stop the reflux. It turned out that the surgeon nicked my lung and on top of that, I was in the hospital for a week instead of two days as promised. But wait… (as they say on infomercials)… after all that the operation failed and I still have my reflux problem.

Yes, acid reflux sucks! old fogey smiley



gl @ Dana Point, CA
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Re: Spent 3 hours in the ER for acid reflux--aspirated it into my lungs
Posted by: decocritter
Date: July 04, 2011 05:30PM
This is happening to an 8 year old child that I know. She is obese (the size of a 12 year old, yet the family just keeps giving her all the junk food she can eat. The reflux has scared her and she went to the hospital, also. She is getting it every night .

Eating late, chocolate, cola, fried foods and dairy, have been known to trigger it.
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Re: Spent 3 hours in the ER for acid reflux--aspirated it into my lungs
Date: July 04, 2011 06:05PM
I went on a mostly Atkins diet and my reflux and heartburn went away, along with 40 lbs of weight. The reflux comes back if I start eating a lot of bread/pasta.



in tha 510.
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Re: Spent 3 hours in the ER for acid reflux--aspirated it into my lungs
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: July 04, 2011 07:41PM
Quote
cbelt3
Grumpy... I've aspirated what is technically referred to as 'vomitus' (that's what you got coming up there.). It used to happen once a month or so. Then I stopped snacking close to bedtime, and that.. stopped.

+1



It is what it is.
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Re: Spent 3 hours in the ER for acid reflux--aspirated it into my lungs
Posted by: wowzer
Date: July 04, 2011 08:54PM
If you swallow vomitus it may cause aspiration pneumonitis...just watch out for fever/chills. Sometimes aspiration will turn into full blown pneumonia--aspiration pneumonia is nasty to treat and may cause other health problems like abscesses/empyema/permanent lung damage.

Lots of things may cause GERD. It's best to see your doc to find out why you get it...

GL.



All I ever really needed to know, I learned from watching Star Trek.
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Re: Spent 3 hours in the ER for acid reflux--aspirated it into my lungs
Posted by: testcase
Date: July 04, 2011 09:05PM
You breathed in acid. Your body is going to take some time to repair the damage said acid did to your lungs. You haven't mentioned it but, do you have the head of your bed raised? Pillows won't get the job done. You actually have to have the bed frame raised (four to six inches should do it). That little bit of incline will get gravity working in your favor. I'd be surprised if your doctor hasn't advised you about this. old fogey smiley
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Re: Spent 3 hours in the ER for acid reflux--aspirated it into my lungs
Posted by: space-time
Date: July 04, 2011 09:11PM
this reminds me of Lily. She aspirated vomit after she chocked and her brother made the Heimlich maneuver to save her.

BTW, driving yourself to hospital at 4 AM, barely breathing and with Asthma and probably not a good idea. Why not call 911?

Good luck and best wishes for a quick and full recovery.
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Re: Spent 3 hours in the ER for acid reflux--aspirated it into my lungs
Posted by: Jerry®
Date: July 05, 2011 05:54PM
Happens to me a lot although I'm on Prilosec. Baking Soda is my rescue at least for the stomach but for the lungs you just have to cough it up - almost to vomit. IT's one of the most painful experiences to aspirate stomach acid. If you are watching your diet - losing weight - taking a proton pump inhibitor (Prilosec, Nexium, Aciphex, etc.,) I would talk to your doctor. I also have asthma. There is a surgery where they can tighten the sphincter at the base of the esophagus/top of the stomach so it's less likely to flow back up.

I empathize.



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Re: Spent 3 hours in the ER for acid reflux--aspirated it into my lungs
Posted by: GeneL
Date: July 06, 2011 02:03PM
It's interesting to me that so many members, including myself, write about a lot of the same health issues.

I've seen this over a long period of time.

I'm wondering if that's because there's a majority in the same age group and that it's age related? I'm 73, btw, but I've had most of my issues for a long time. old fogey smiley

I did try cbelt3's suggestion about not snacking close to bedtime and it seems to have had a positive effect.

Thanks, cbelt3! smiling smiley



gl @ Dana Point, CA
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Re: Spent 3 hours in the ER for acid reflux--aspirated it into my lungs
Posted by: Milkman
Date: July 26, 2013 11:42PM
Just had this happen... Again. I have a few tricks:
1. I have trained myself to immediately jump out of bed when this wakes me up. I was taught this type of response when bed-wetting as a kid.
2. Now that you are standing next to your bed (with nothing between you and the kitchen), race to the kitchen for MILK. Drink straight from the jug. Just a little bit... Maybe 2oz, one small gulp. Swish around your mouth a little first if the acid is in the mouth too. Keep the jug with you. Sip as needed over the next 1/2 hr.
3. Don't stop in the kitchen. Goto the bathroom sink. Start coughing hard. No deep breaths. You are trying to move the acid out of your wind pipe. Be prepare to spend the next 30 minutes coughing like a smoker.
4. I usually take a shower while coughing. Showers calm me down.
5. Once the pain is tolerable, move to a comfortable chair, and allow the flem to build up such that you can cough that up too.

If it is deep into your lungs, I suggest you goto the hospital. You will know what "deep" is.

This only minimizes the discomfort. The first time it happened, I thought I had started dying. Washing out and gargling with water made it much worse. The jumping out of bed seems to be key.

I am not a doctor. No doctor has ever suggested anything even remotely helpful... Other than drugs as a preventive measure... Which does not help at 2am. I only hit upon the milk idea in thinking about "like dissolves like"... Which does not make total sense. This led me to the 2nd thing from high school chemistry: mixing 2 acids greatly reduces acidity of the first; however, one still has acid, but is tolerable.

My first night was when I was 38. 7 yrs later, this has happened a dozen or so times. I have 2 Prilosec a day, along with calcium supplement(vit d).
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Re: Spent 3 hours in the ER for acid reflux--aspirated it into my lungs
Posted by: DarkLordLarry
Date: March 13, 2014 01:55PM
I've had this happen several times. It's a terrifying experience.

Terrifying enough that I researched the matter and have implemented these best practice suggestions from the medical websites. They recommend a combination of lifestyle changes and the use of antacids as needed and daily histamine antagonists (like Pepcid). If these don't work, they say to move to the more effective (and more expensive) protein pump inhibitors (like Prilosec).

Lifestyle changes include: limit alcoholic intake, particularly after dinner; don't eat large evening meals or snack after dinner; reduce weight; stop smoking (this wasn't an issue for me); avoid acid reflux-inducing foods (like chocolate, a hard one for me to give up!); chew gum or use oral lozenges after eating to stimulate saliva production; wear loose-fitting night clothing; and situation your mattress so your head is 6 to 8 inches higher than your feet (don't stack pillows, which is what I was doing before I read this, as that can create an unnatural bend in your body and make things worse).

So, I've buckled down and am trying to practice all these things, and I haven't yet even had the need for the medication. So far it's working.

Hope it's going well for you.
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Re: Spent 3 hours in the ER for acid reflux--aspirated it into my lungs
Posted by: DarkLordLarry
Date: March 13, 2014 01:56PM
And by the way, here's the source website I was looking at:

[www.uptodate.com]
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Re: Spent 3 hours in the ER for acid reflux--aspirated it into my lungs
Posted by: GeneL
Date: March 13, 2014 04:21PM
Thanks for the additional posts, guys.

I have to point out that my reflux issues have been well controlled by taking Nexium for years now. I did experience a little "pang" of heart burn because they gave me a much less effective medication, but since it as a short time I'm pretty sure there no further issue with reflux. I didn't "breathe in acid" as was suggested. Believe me I know what that's like. It was horrible, though, knowing that being stuck with the wrong medication was making me feel worse than I was feeling due to chest pain.

Jerry, as I've said, I've been on Nexium for years and it does an excellent job of preventing the production of acid. Also, I did have an operation, a lap Nisen fundoplication, which involved wrapping my stomach around my esophagus to stop the acid flow. Unfortunately, my surgeon screwed it up and it failed. He also told me that he had nicked my lung in the process. I don't know if that would cause any permanent damage and he didn't elaborate. It was after that failed operation that I began taking Nexium and as I've said, it seems to have done the job for years now.

As far as driving myself to the ER, as I mentioned earlier, I had already gone to my physical therapy clinic and wasn't in as much pain when I started out. When I realized that the pain was getting worse, I left the clinic and I then made a short detour to the ER, rather than going home first.

All in all, I think that I can say with confidence, the pain that I experienced was not from reflux issues. My guess at this point is that it stems from the major excision that was done to remove my lymph nodes to prevent the spread of the melanoma I had when I was in my early twenties. That operation was mainly in my left chest and I still have a large scar in that area. Could it be that due to that surgery I have nerve damage that is affecting me now and causing the excruciating pain that I just experienced?

If that's the reason, is there anything that can be done to alleviate the pain, outside of strong pain medication? I certainly don't want to become dependent on pain killers.

Thanks again for your interest and concern. Believe me it has been helpful to feel surrounded by "friends."

I want to say that I would be there for you all if you were in the same boat.

It appears that a lot of us have similar health issues, so it's probably helpful to discuss this and learn from each other. For many of us, we've known each other for years, so I feel we have a lot more empathy for each other than if we were strangers. I'm so glad to have you all around me!

BTW, I wonder if c-belt ever got a CPAP? I offered him the BiPAP machine that I had used previously, but never heard from him again. If anyone needs a machine and masks, I have received replacements periodically. My previous equipment, which still works just fine is available if any of our members are in need and don't have insurance coverage that pays for it.

My best to you all.



gl @ Dana Point, CA
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