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Use of an electric ear syringe in the emergency department.

OBJECTIVES: To introduce an electric ear syringe into an emergency department and evaluate its use in the removal of foreign bodies from the external auditory canal.

METHODS: Report of the use of a new device (the Propulse electric ear syringe) in an emergency department with a retrospective audit of the management of all cases of aural foreign bodies during one year.

RESULTS: Almost 60% of the 84 patients who presented with foreign bodies in the auditory canal were children. Staff chose to treat over half of all patients with aural foreign bodies with the electric ear syringe. The overall success rates for the removal of the foreign bodies were: electric syringe, 93% in adults and 88% in children and instrumentation, 68% in adults and 50% in children.

CONCLUSIONS: Irrigation with an electric ear syringe is an effective method of removing foreign bodies from the external auditory canal. The device tested was safe, inexpensive, easy to use, and readily acceptable to both adults and children. The availability of an electric ear syringe in an emergency department can avoid the need for specialist referral and the subsequent removal of foreign bodies under general anaesthesia.

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