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I am so sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I was out all day and just had a chance to sit down in front of the computer.
Your aunt probably did get a bit of her cranberry juice into her lungs, we call it "it went down the wrong pipe". Having said this, I do want to assure you that it absolutely doesn't mean she will get pneumonia.
When someone continuously aspirates food and drinks, eventually these particle will accumulate in some area in the lung and cause pneumonia but it usually doesn't happen from just one time. Your aunt probably aspirated a bit of juice, irritated her throat and has been coughing due to that irritation. It takes several days before pneumonia can even begin to set in which, I am sure, will not happen with your aunt.
There is no such thing as silent aspiration so I really don't think you need to be listening to your aunt's chest often. Her breathing rate is very normal, 12-14 per minute.
Signs and symptoms of aspirational pneumonia are cough with sputum, fever/chills (although it may not happen in elderly people), decreased appetite, increased sleep, increased shortness of breath. Aspirational pneumonia will not stay silent.
At this point there is not much you can do other then just observe her but again, I really do not think anything will happen.
Again, sorry for taking this long to get back to you.
Have a good night and let me know if you have any other questions.
Yes, there really isn't any way of knowing if any juice got into her lungs or not. Just because she coughed, it doesn't mean she aspirated. I've had many instances when I swallow something to quickly or take too big of a bite, it goes down into the windpipe (trachea) and I start coughing so I think that's what your aunt experienced as well. Because it is quite irritating for the windpipe to get any kind of food/liquid, cough can persist for several minutes simply due to irritation. If she coughed really hard, it is possible that the coughing itself irritate her throat which is why she was still coughing when she was drinking lemonade.
Pulse oxymeters are good indicators of how much oxygen is coming in and 95-99% on room air is very normal.
To clarify my statement about the duration of aspiration needed for pneumonia...there is really no specific time frame, its just if someone is in a nursing home and has frequent aspirations, over time (could be weeks, could be months) they can develop aspiration pneumonia because they are unable to cough up the food particles that were swallowed and, eventually, those swallowed particles create a warm and moist environment for bacteria to grow thus causing pneumonia.
Hope this makes sense. I will on the computer until about 4:00 pm today in case you have any other questions. Julia
Her vital signs seem normal, I am sure she will be just fine after this incident.
If someone has healthy lungs and is mobile, they can probably cough up the food particle but people who are weak and debilitated may not be able to cough it up and, it will sit in the lung. If it is food, it will not dissolve, liquid may dissolve.