Extraction of tracheobronchial foreign bodies in children and adults with rigid and flexible bronchoscopy

Rajiv Goyal, Sandeep Nayar, Pratibha Gogia, Mohit Garg
Journal of Bronchology & Interventional Pulmonology 2012, 19 (1): 35-43

BACKGROUND: Tracheobronchial foreign bodies (TBFBs) due to accidental aspiration are seen in both children and adults and are usually extracted by flexible bronchoscopy (FB) or rigid bronchoscopy (RB). The experience over a decade of treating 214 patients with TBFBs has been analyzed retrospectively.

METHODS: The records of all patients who presented with possible TBFB aspiration since 2001 were analyzed. A clinical profile of these patients was compiled. The method of extraction and its success was noted. Asphyxiating TBFBs were extracted straight away by RB, whereas for nonasphyxiating TBFBs, extraction was first attempted with FB and RB used only if the former failed. The success of the 2 procedures was compared.

RESULTS: : Of a total of 266 patients in whom TBFBs were suspected, the diagnosis was confirmed by bronchoscopy in 214. TBFBs were more common in males, and in the age group between 1 and 2 years. Successful extraction could be achieved in 40% of the patients with FB and in 95% with RB where it was required.

CONCLUSIONS: From our experience of extraction of TBFBs over more than a decade, we have drawn the following conclusions: (1) TBFBs present most frequently in the age group of 1 to 2 years, with cough and/or breathlessness commonly following a choking episode; (2) a high index of suspicion is essential and diagnostic FB should be performed in all such cases even though the chest radiograph is normal; (3) TBFBs can be life threatening and may require to be treated as an emergency; (4) FB may be used first for diagnosis and extraction under conscious sedation for nonasphyxiating TBFBs. It is usually more successful in adults and less so in children; (5) in these patients, if FB is unsuccessful, then RB may be used to extract the TBFB; (6) for asphyxiating TBFBs, RB is the procedure of choice; (7) pulmonologists who wish to practice extraction of TBFBs ought to be trained in both FB and RB and must possess adequate equipment and a skilled team to assist them.


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