Bronchial secretions from 21 patients with moderate to severe chest infections were obtained by transtracheal aspiration. Six seriously ill patients showed greatly increased levels of amylase activity in the bronchial secretions compared with those found in the 15 less ill patients. This amylase was almost certainly derived from oropharyngeal contents and its presence suggests that aspiration may be more common in comatose and semi-comatose patients than is generally appreciated.
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