Long-standing inhaled foreign bodies in children: Characteristics and outcome

Andrew Martin, Graeme van der Meer, Dora Blair, Murali Mahadevan, Michel Neeff, Colin Barber, Nicola Mills, Lesley Salkeld, Maayan Gruber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective Aspirated foreign bodies in children present a potentially life-threatening condition and can be challenging to diagnose. This study aims to elucidate the characteristics and outcome of children with long-standing aspirated foreign bodies. Methods Retrospective case series of all cases of confirmed long-standing aspirated foreign bodies (LSAFB) between January 2003 to December 2015 in a single paediatric tertiary-level institution, defined as more than two weeks from choking episode or beginning of symptoms. Results Clinical files and operative records on 227 patients were screened and 35 children were confirmed to have been treated for LSAFB as per definition above. Median time to presentation was 4 weeks (mean 8.8 weeks). Eighty-six percent presented with cough and 51% with dyspnoea. Abnormal chest X-ray findings were found in 28 out 31 patients (90%). Organic foreign bodies (22) were more common than inorganic (14). Intraoperative granulation tissue was demonstrated in 89% of patients and in 46% of patients this was regarded as significant (defined as obstructing more than 50% of the involved airway lumen). Mean length of stay was 2.5 days. Nine patients (26%) had 11 respiratory complications; there were no mortalities. Conclusions Paediatric LSAFB poses an uncommon diagnostic dilemma as there is often no witnessed history of aspiration event; and signs, symptoms and chest X-Ray findings are often non-specific. Laryngobronchoscopy is made more difficult by the presence of granulation tissue and the sequelae of prolonged non-treatment is a higher rate of chronic respiratory disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-53
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd


  • Airway
  • Aspirated foreign body
  • Cough
  • Paediatric
  • Pneumonia


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