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Foreign bodies in the aerodigestive tract among patients frequenting the ENT emergency department in Tirana, Albania

Suela Sallavaci, Gentian Stroni, Ervin Toci


INTRODUCTION: Aspiration of foreign bodies (FBs) is common among children, especially those very young, but it is a phenomenon present among adults as well. Foreign bodies in the aerodigestive tract (airways and/or esophagus) could be rather dangerous, and in some cases, life-threatening. The information about the epidemiology of FB among Albanian patients admitted to ENT emergency department is limited.

AIM: The aim of this article is to describe the epidemiology of FBs in the aerodigestive tract among individuals showing up for care at the ENT emergency department during January–December 2020 in Tirana, Albania.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study involving 272 individuals who showed up at the ENT emergency department during January–December 2020 in Tirana, Albania, with signs and symptoms of FB in the aerodigestive tract, filtered by thorough examination of clinical records. We reported the rate of confirmed aerodigestive tract FB diagnosis among all participants, the localization of the FB, the age-and-gender distribution of individuals with confirmed FBs in the esophagus and the airways.

RESULTS: Among all suspected aerodigestive tract FB cases, 45.6% had a definitive aerodigestive tract FB diagnosis. Among confirmed cases, the localization of FB in the esophagus and airways was 71% and 29%, respectively. The most affected age group were children under 10 years old for both airway and esophagus FB. More males than females had a diagnosis of airway or esophagus FB. High proportions of elderly people (aged 60+) were also affected by both airway and esophagus FB.

CONCLUSION: The epidemiology of aerodigestive FB in Albania resembles that of other countries. Because the highest-risk group comprises young children, it is necessary to make some changes with regards to child nutrition, and objects and toys more likely for children to come into contact with. Parents’ vigilance is necessary to avoid aerodigestive tract FB among young children.


airways, Albania, epidemiology, foreign body, esophagus

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