Author | Milind Pansare, MD

Articles

Foreign-Body Aspiration: A Guide to Early Detection, Optimal Therapy

January 01, 2007

ABSTRACT: Because foreign-body aspiration can cause symptoms that mimic those of other respiratory conditions, a high index of suspicion is crucial in all children who have pneumonia, atelectasis, or wheezing with an atypical course--especially when these conditions are unresponsive to usual medical therapy. A history of choking can usually be elicited in a patient who has aspirated a foreign body: such a history should be sought when respiratory symptoms develop suddenly. However, the absence of a choking history does not rule out foreign-body aspiration. Moreover, patients may be asymptomatic initially. Normal radiographic findings do not exclude an aspirated foreign body. Bronchoscopy should be strongly considered when an aspirated foreign body is suspected, even if radiographic images show normal findings. Rigid bronchoscopy is the procedure of choice for removing aspirated foreign bodies in children. Prevention of foreign-body aspiration can be enhanced through anticipatory guidance of parents/caregivers and through continued product safety efforts.