Objective: To evaluate the pattern and outcome of management of retained oesophageal foreign bodies in children.
Design: Retrospective study.
Setting: Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, Ile-Ife, January 1991 to December 2000.
Subjects: One hundred and eight paediatric patients, aged 0-14 years managed for retained oesophageal foreign bodies.
Intervention: The foreign bodies were removed endoscopically, using either a larynoscope or a rigid oesophagoscope, under general anaesthesia.
Results: There were 108 patients, with a mean age of 3.0 +/- 0.8 years and age range of 23 days to 14 years. The male to female ratio was 1.5: 1. Sixty four (59.3%) patients were within 1-5 year age group. Coins constituted 79.6% of the retained foreign bodies. Over 90% of patients presented within the first four days of the incidence. The dominant complaints were drooling of saliva in 37 (40.2%) and difficulty in swallowing in 35 (38.1%) patients. The commonest sites of the foreign body retention were the upper third of oesophagus 52(48.2%) and the hypopharynx 36(33.3%). The main complications following the foreign body removal were oesophageal perforations 4(3.7%) and lacerations 16(15%).
Conclusion: Retained oesophageal foreign body is a common childhood health hazard. Early diagnosis and prompt skillful removal are necessary for a satisfactory outcome.