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Aspirated Foreign Bodies in Children

PG Getsov

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Accidental inhalation of both non-organic and organic foreign bodies continues to be a reason for childhood morbidity and mortality, requiring quick recognition and early treatment to reduce the potentially serious consequences. It can rarely lead to death.

LEARNING POINTS: To present the main hazards and the diagnostic algorithm in cases with aspiration of foreign bodies in children.

MAIN BODY: Most foreign bodies are organic, most commonly seeds and nuts. Non-organic foreign bodies vary dramatically and can include teeth, coins, batteries, pins, pens and crayons. Most children are witnessed to have an asphyxia event at the time of aspiration. They may also present with cough, dyspnoea or irritability. Because of the immaturity of the respiratory system of children, especially up to 1 year of age, those incidents can be particularly dangerous and insidious. Aspirated foreign bodies are predominant in the right tracheobronchial tree. Chest X-ray examination can be normal in one third of patients. Unilateral emphysema or atelectasis are the most common findings, uncommonly a radio-opaque foreign body can be demonstrated. CT is used less frequently in cases of chronic foreign bodies.

CONCLUSION: Prevention is best, but early recognition remains a critical factor in the treatment of foreign body inhalation in children. Foreign bodies in the respiratory tract in children should be seen as a serious problem for the medical team including paediatricians, radiologists, bronchoscopy specialists, anaesthesiologists, and thoracic surgeons in order to avoid complications and death.


Keywords

foreign bodies, aspiration, children




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14748/ssm.v49i0.3073

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PG Getsov

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