Extraction of pins from the airway with flexible bronchoscopy

Mehmet Gencer, Erkan Ceylan, Nurhan Koksal
Respiration; International Review of Thoracic Diseases 2007, 74 (6): 674-9

BACKGROUND: Tracheobronchial foreign body aspiration is a worldwide health problem which often results in life threatening complications. Standard flexible bronchoscopy (FB) is used increasingly in the treatment of tracheobronchial foreign body aspiration in adults and older children, especially in the removal of aspirated foreign bodies which have entered into the peripheral bronchi.

OBJECTIVES: In the present study, we discuss how to minimize complications and increase the success rate of FB in the aspiration of pins, and recommend techniques to facilitate the application.

METHODS: The study was performed at a community hospital in Van, the Harran University Hospital in Sanliurfa and the Sutcuimam University Hospital in Kahramanmaras, Turkey. Between 2000 and 2005, 23 female patients between the ages of 12 and 23, who were admitted to the clinics and diagnosed as having tracheobronchial headscarf pin aspirations were included in our study to evaluate the efficiency of FB. Diagnosis of the patients was established by history, FB and radiological methods. All patients received transoral FB under local anesthesia.

RESULTS: FB was successfully applied in all cases. During removal, the pins in 2 patients dropped at the proximal trachea and subglottic zone, and were ingested into the gastrointestinal track. In both cases, the pins were spontaneously excreted from the body in the stool within one day. No other complication was detected in the other patients during or following bronchoscopy.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that FB is a safe, easy and successful method used in the removal of foreign bodies, such as pins, from the tracheobronchial trees. By employing FB, indications of thoracotomy and other invasive methods can be reduced especially in the cases of pins localized in distal airways and in the evaluation of suspected foreign bodies.

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