Predictors of spontaneous passage of ingested foreign bodies in adults: twelve years of experience

Wisam Sbeit, Maamoun Basheer, Amir Shahin, Denis Makanovitsky, Tawfik Khoury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Foreign body ingestion in adults is commonly encountered in clinical practice. The therapeutic approach of whether to follow-up or extract is often controversial. Aim: We aimed to explore predictors for spontaneous passage of ingested foreign bodies by focusing on foreign body type, length, and location of impaction. Methods: We performed a 12-year retrospective single-center study. Logistic regression analysis was done to identify predictors of spontaneous passage. Results: Overall, 365 patients with foreign body ingestion were included. The rate of spontaneous passage was 53.7% in general, while the spontaneous passage rate was 47.9% in food impaction, 44.3% in sharp objects, 88.7% in blunt objects and only 22.2% in long blunt objects (> 6 cm). On regression analysis, esophageal location was associated with a higher impaction rate and lower spontaneous passage vs. stomach and small and large intestine (OR 0.15, 95% CI 0.07–0.31, OR 0.18, 95% CI 0.09–0.37 and OR 0.02, 95% CI 0.003–0.14), respectively. Performing Receiver operating characteristics (ROC) analysis found that the maximal length above which the foreign body will fail to pass spontaneously was 3.5 cm in the stomach and 3 cm in the small intestine, with area under the curve (AUC) of 0.8509 in stomach and 0.8073 in small intestine. Conclusion: Endoscopic removal was needed for all esophageal foreign bodies, and all foreign bodies more than 3.5 cm above the duodenum. Spontaneous passage of ingested foreign body in a selected cohort of patients depends on foreign body type, location, and length. Graphical abstract: (Figure presented.).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1533-1540
Number of pages8
JournalSurgical Endoscopy and Other Interventional Techniques
Issue number3
Early online date25 Jan 2024
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2024.


  • Foreign bodies
  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • Passage
  • Predictors
  • Spontaneous


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