My grandfather passed away after choking on food and coughing. Could this be due to ARDS, a heart attack, or a seizure?

Q. Can someone with ARDS die due to choking on food?

Answered by
Dr. Bharat Patodiya
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 10, 2023

Hello doctor,

I lost my grandfather recently. The physicians informed us that, he had ARDS. He suffered a stroke the day he was hospitalized, which led the medical professionals to discover that he had brain bleeding. He was complaining about headaches and had excessive blood pressure. His blood pressure had improved, and his brain was beginning to restore six days later. He had greatly improved. He was not eating well, and that was the main issue. He reportedly choked on food only seven days after being hospitalized and passed away. He was given the diagnosis of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome by doctors, who were unsure if he suffered a heart attack or a seizure. My grandfather had a history of diabetes and had a couple of strokes a few months or years prior. I need to know your opinions and what you believe his actual diagnosis to be since I find it impossible to comprehend how they could have discovered him on the ground choked for an extended period they had no idea. Kindly help.



Welcome back to

I read your query and can understand your concern.

Additional information, such as the results of a chest X-ray and an oxygen demand, will be required for the diagnosis of ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome). Aspiration pneumonia can result from food aspiration. However, given the severity of the morbidities, I suspect that a change in diagnosis would have affected the result. Antibiotics, respiratory support, and steroids, if ARDS is suspected, are used as the main treatments. I am unable to tell you how much neurological injury he sustained due to his arrest and recovery, especially given his history of several strokes. If a substantial neurological insult occurred, it is an indicator that the prognosis is poor. I sympathize with your loss and wish you a quick comeback from this incident.

I hope this helps.

Thank you and take care.


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