Management of foreign body ingestion in children: experience with 42 cases

Acta Paediatr Taiwan. 2003 Sep-Oct;44(5):269-73.


Ingestion of foreign bodies occurs frequently in children, but there are no definite management guidelines. We reviewed 42 pediatric cases of accidental ingestion of foreign bodies with or without symptoms during the past 10 years. In decreasing order of frequency, the foreign bodies included: coins, sharp objects (needle, pin), bones (fish and chicken bone), metal object, food, seeds, plastic material, magnets, jewelry ring, and others. The majority of children were 5 years old or younger. At the time of presentation, the vast majority of objects were located in the esophagus. Sixty percent of the patients had symptoms, such as abdominal pain, vomiting and cough. Management included observation, esophagoscopy, panendoscopy, and laparotomy. Four patients (9.5%) had complications. One patient who ingested a magnet suffered from esophageal perforation with mediastinitis. Two had deep neck abscess due to esophageal penetration by bones. Another patient had hemorrhagic gastritis after swallowing a coin. All patients discharged after treatment, and none died.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Digestive System*
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System
  • Foreign Bodies / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant