COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Safety and efficacy of a protocol using bougienage or endoscopy for the management of coins acutely lodged in the esophagus: a large case series.

STUDY OBJECTIVE: We report our experience using the bougienage procedure in the management of esophageal coins.

METHODS: Observational case series of all patients presenting to our emergency departments with coins acutely lodged in the esophagus between 1994 and 2006. All patients were treated according to our protocol with either endoscopy or bougienage. Patients are eligible for bougienage if they have had a witnessed coin ingestion less than 24 hours before presentation and if esophageal coin position is confirmed by chest radiograph and there is no history of esophageal disease, surgery, or foreign body. Primary outcomes measured were complications, efficacy of procedure, hospital charges, length of stay, and return to the hospital. Length of stay and hospital charges data were gathered for patients presenting in the final 24 months of the study.

RESULTS: Six hundred twenty patients were identified as having esophageal coins. Three hundred fifty-five patients had a successful bougienage, and 17 patients had unsuccessful bougienage. By comparison, 248 patients underwent endoscopy, and the coin was successfully removed in all but 1 of these patients. Of patients undergoing endoscopy, 89 were eligible for bougienage, but patient, parent, or physician preference was for endoscopic management. Eleven patients required reevaluation or readmission for complaints related to esophageal coin. The only complication was subglottic edema, causing respiratory distress in a single patient who had undergone endoscopy. Patients undergoing endoscopy had an average length of stay of 6.1 hours and average hospital charges were $6,087. Patients undergoing bougienage had an average length of stay of 2.2 hours and average hospital charges of $1,884.

CONCLUSION: In properly screened patients with coins acutely lodged in the esophagus, bougienage offers a safe and effective alternative to other methods of coin management.

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