Complications in children from foreign bodies in the airway

Hugo Rodríguez, Giselle Cuestas, Hugo Botto, Mary Nieto, Alejandro Cocciaglia, Desiderio Passali, Dario Gregori
Acta Otorrinolaringológica Española 2016, 67 (2): 93-101

INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES: Foreign body aspiration in childhood is a common and potentially serious problem. Complications may be the result of the aspiration episode itself, delayed diagnosis or treatment. We describe our experience in a paediatric hospital in Argentina.

METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated 56 patients with complications due to foreign body aspiration recorded in the Susy Safe Project between January 2010 and November 2013. The clinical variables analysed were sex, age at time of aspiration, foreign body location and type, time elapsed from the event until object removal, extraction technique, complications, need for hospitalisation and circumstances of the event.

RESULTS: 58.9% of the cases described occurred in males, with high presence of adults (76.8%) at the time of aspiration. The incidence was slightly higher in children older than 3 years. In 37 cases (66.1%), the foreign body was located in bronchus; sunflower seeds and ballpoint caps were the most common foreign objects. Only in 10 cases (17.9%) was the object extracted within 24h of the event. The most common complications were pneumonia (18 cases), granuloma (15 cases) and mucosal erosion (9 cases). Hospitalisation was necessary for 41 patients.

CONCLUSION: Early diagnosis and immediate control through specialised teams are essential to ensure proper treatment, usually endoscopic, without risk of complications.

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