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Trop Med Int Health. 1997 Apr;2(4):383-8.

Olive oil aspiration pneumonia (lipoid) in children.

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  • 1Department of Child Health, College of Medicine, King Saud University-Abba Branch, Saudi Arabia.


In the Asir region of south-western Saudi Arabia, nasal instillation of olive oil to infants and children in the recumbent position is practised to relieve nasal congestion. Aspiration of olive oil results in lipoid pneumonia resistant to antimicrobial treatment. A series of 5 children, aged 4-72 months, with olive oil-induced lipoid pneumonia is presented. Clinical presentation included persistent coughing, tachypnoea, recurrent febrile illness and chest infections. The pulmonary radiological picture was mainly right middle lobar and perihilar infiltrates. Bronchial lavage and microscopic examination of the aspirate confirmed the presence of fat globules. The pneumonia resolved on treatment with steroids and physiotherapy in the form of clapping and vibrations. For infants and children in this area who present with persistent pulmonary infiltrates which are not responsive to antimicrobials, the differential diagnosis of not only animal fat (ghee, clarified butter) but also of olive oil lipoid pneumonia must be considered.

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