Foreign bodies in the nose causing complications and requiring hospitalization in children 0-14 age: results from the European survey of foreign bodies injuries study

Rhinology. 2008 Mar;46(1):28-33.


Introduction: The occurrence of foreign bodies (FB) in otorhinolaryngological practice is a common and serious problem among pediatric patients. The aim of this work is to characterize the risk of complications and prolonged hospitalization due to FBs in the nose in terms of the characteristics of the injured patients (age, gender), typology and features of the FBs, the circumstances of the accident and the hospitalization's details.

Materials and methods: A retrospective study of FB associated injuries, assessing the characteristics of the injured child and the FB, the circumstances of the accident and finally the hospitalization details took place on children aged 0-14 in major hospitals of 19 European countries.

Results: In total 688 cases were assessed. Complications and hospitalization occurred in 59 and 52 cases, respectively. Over 51% of patients were females. The median age of children who experienced a complication was four years. In the majority of cases FB removal was accomplished by means of a non-invasive technique (rhinoscopy with a nasal speculum or rigid fiberoptic endoscope. The majority of children were directly referred to the ENT department. The most common FBs associated with complications and hospitalization were nuts, seeds, berries, corn and beans, batteries and other inorganic objects such as broken parts of pens, paper clips and pearls. Over 38% of the injuries occurred under adults' supervision.

Discussion: FB injuries in the nose are commonly encountered in clinical practice. Even if the presence of a FB is not usually life threatening, it may result in long-term complications such as perforation of the septum. Because the risks associated with FB injuries, public education about this problem is recommended.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Data Collection
  • Endoscopy
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Foreign Bodies / complications*
  • Foreign Bodies / epidemiology*
  • Foreign Bodies / therapy
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Nose / injuries*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors