Foreign body removal by flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy in infants and children

Jorge L Ramírez-Figueroa, Laura G Gochicoa-Rangel, David H Ramírez-San Juan, Mario H Vargas
Pediatric Pulmonology 2005, 40 (5): 392-7
Rigid bronchoscopy is the preferred method for removal of foreign bodies lodged in the airways, but some studies found that flexible bronchoscopy can also achieve a high success rate. The aim of the present work was to report our experience in using flexible bronchoscopy for foreign body retrieval in infants and children. Reports of all bronchoscopies performed from 1994-2003 at a tertiary-level pediatric hospital in Mexico City were reviewed. Those with a final diagnosis of foreign body aspiration were analyzed. Of 2,376 bronchoscopies performed during the study period, 59 (2.5%) yielded a final diagnosis of foreign body aspiration: 28 lodged in the right bronchi, 15 in the left bronchi, and those remaining, in the larynx or trachea. Foreign bodies were organic in nature in 38 (64.4%), mainly peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and beans, while 21 (35.6%) were inorganic, mainly pen caps and pins. In 23 cases, flexible bronchoscopy was attempted as the initial therapeutic procedure. Among these latter patients, the procedure was successful in 21 (91.3%). Ages of these 21 patients ranged from 9 months to 16 years (median, 5 years). The only two patients in whom foreign bodies could not be removed through flexible bronchoscopy were males, 2 years of age, both with a peanut lodged in right main bronchus. In conclusion, flexible bronchoscopy must be taken into account as initial therapeutic method for foreign body removal in infants and children.

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