Esophageal foreign bodies in adults: systematic review of the literature

Alberto Aiolfi, Davide Ferrari, Carlo Galdino Riva, Francesco Toti, Gianluca Bonitta, Luigi Bonavina
Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology 2018 November 5, : 1-8

OBJECTIVE: Esophageal Foreign Body (FB) impaction represents a major challenge for healthcare providers. Aim of this systematic review was to analyse the current literature evidence on prevalence, presentation, treatment, and outcomes of impacted esophageal FB.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Literature search was conducted between 2000 and 30th June 2018 according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) statement.

RESULTS: Sixty-one studies matched the inclusion criteria. The total number of included patients was 13,092. The cervical esophagus was the most frequent impaction site (67%) and sharp-pointed objects were the most common FB (38.1%). Retrosternal pain (78%), dysphagia (48%), and odynophagia (43.4%) were the most common symptoms. A flexible or rigid endoscopic approach was adopted in 65.1% and 16.8% of patients, respectively. Overall, 17.8% of patients had a complication related to the impacted esophageal FB or to the endoscopic manoeuvers. A surgical approach was required in 3.4% of patients. The overall mortality was 0.85%.

CONCLUSIONS: Surgery is the upfront treatment in patients with esophageal perforation or endoscopically irretrievable esophageal FB. A minimally invasive approach can be adopted in selected patients. Effective prevention of FB impaction should focus on accurate diagnostic work-up to search for an underlying motility disorder after a first episode of esophageal impaction, even if transient and self-resolving.

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