To evaluate the mechanism of lower respiratory tract infection in the hospital, gastric juice, throat secretions, secretions in tracheal cannulae or tubes and aspirated sputum were cultured simultaneously in seven patients with tracheostomy and seven patients with tracheal intubation. Thirty-six strains of bacteria were isolated from gastric juice and only 22.2% of them were the same bacteria as those in the throat secretions. This suggested that there was little correlation between gastric and oropharyngeal flora. The bacteria isolated from throat secretions and aspirated sputum showed 38.5% coincidence in tracheostomized patients and 80% coincidence in intubated patients. In addition, the rate of agreement was 33.3% in tracheostomized patients and 88.9% in intubated patients between throat secretions and tracheal cannulae or tubes. These findings suggested that the correlation of bacterial flora between the upper and lower respiratory tracts was high in intubated patients and low in tracheostomized patients. Identical bacteria in the stomach and the upper and lower respiratory tracts (which may cause nosocomial infection) were isolated in only four of the 14 patients. It has been suggested that bacterial flora in the lower respiratory tract are transmitted from the stomach to the oropharynx and then cause lower respiratory tract infection in hospital. However, our study suggested that this was not a common pathogenic mechanism.