Inhaled foreign body
Mouth | Emergency Medicine | Inhaled foreign body (Disease)
Foreign body aspiration can be a life-threatening emergency. An aspirated solid or semisolid object may lodge in the larynx or trachea. If the object is large enough to cause nearly complete obstruction of the airway, asphyxia may rapidly cause death. Lesser degrees of obstruction or passage of the obstructive object beyond the carina can result in less severe signs and symptoms.
Chronic debilitating symptoms with recurrent infections might occur with delayed extraction, or the patient may remain asymptomatic. The actual aspiration event can usually be identified, although it is often not immediately appreciated. The aspirated object might even escape detection. Most often, the aspirated object is food, but a broad spectrum of aspirated items has been documented over the years. Commonly retrieved objects include seeds, nuts, bone fragments, nails, small toys, coins, pins, medical instrument fragments, and dental appliances.
Causes and Risk factors
Young children can easily inhale certain foods (such as nuts, seeds, and popcorn) and small objects (such as buttons and beads). Such objects may cause either partial or total airway blockage.
Coins, small toys, marbles, pins, screws, rocks, and anything else small enough for infants or toddlers to put in their mouths can be swallowed. If the object passes through the esophagus and into the stomach without getting stuck, it will probably pass through the entire GI tract.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Treatment for an inhaled foreign body may include oxygen therapy and bronchoscopy, which allows a doctor to retrieve a foreign object from the upper airway or lung. ...