JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW
SYSTEMATIC REVIEW
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A systematic review of paediatric foreign body ingestion: presentation, complications, and management.

BACKGROUND: Foreign body ingestion is a common problem among paediatric populations. A variety of foreign bodies are ingested, some of which are particularly harmful and life threatening such as button batteries, magnets and bones. Common household items such as small toys, marbles, batteries and erasers are often ingested. The aim of this systematic review is to study the problem of foreign body ingestion among paediatric populations in terms of commonly ingested objects, and attempt to identify the link between location of impaction, associated symptoms, complications, spontaneous passage, methods and timing of removal.

METHODS: A literature search of multiple databases including PubMed, Embase, Current Contents Connect and Medline were conducted for studies on foreign body ingestions. Based on strict inclusion and exclusion criteria, 17 studies were selected. A qualitative review of these studies was then performed to identify commonly ingested foreign bodies, symptoms, signs and complications of foreign body ingestion, rates of spontaneous passage and methods of retrieval of the ingested objects.

RESULTS: Coins are the most commonly ingested foreign body. A variety of gastrointestinal symptoms such vomiting and drooling as well as respiratory symptoms such as coughing and stridor are associated with foreign body ingestion. The oesophagus, in particular the upper third, is the common site of foreign body obstruction. Objects in the stomach and intestine were spontaneously passed more frequently than at any other sites in the gastrointestinal system. Complications such as bowel perforations, infection and death are more commonly associated with ingestion of objects such as batteries and sharp objects such as bones and needles. Ingested objects are most commonly removed by endoscopic means.

CONCLUSION: Foreign body ingestion is a common paediatric problem. Batteries and sharp objects should be removed immediately to avoid complications while others can be observed for spontaneous passage. Endoscopy has a high success rate in removing ingested foreign bodies.

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