Foreign body ingestion in children

Am Fam Physician. 2005 Jul 15;72(2):287-91.


Because many patients who have swallowed foreign bodies are asymptomatic, physicians must maintain a high index of suspicion. The majority of ingested foreign bodies pass spontaneously, but serious complications, such as bowel perforation and obstruction, can occur. Foreign bodies lodged in the esophagus should be removed endoscopically, but some small, blunt objects may be pulled out using a Foley catheter or pushed into the stomach using bougienage [corrected] Once they are past the esophagus, large or sharp foreign bodies should be removed if reachable by endoscope. Small, smooth objects and all objects that have passed the duodenal sweep should be managed conservatively by radiographic surveillance and inspection of stool. Endoscopic or surgical intervention is indicated if significant symptoms develop or if the object fails to progress through the gastrointestinal tract.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Child, Preschool
  • Deglutition
  • Endoscopy
  • Esophagus*
  • Foreign Bodies* / complications
  • Foreign Bodies* / diagnostic imaging
  • Foreign Bodies* / therapy
  • Foreign-Body Migration / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Radiography