Foreign body aspirations in infancy: a 20-year experience

Int J Med Sci. 2009 Oct 14;6(6):322-8. doi: 10.7150/ijms.6.322.


Objective: Foreign body aspirations comprise the majority of accidental deaths in childhood. Diagnostic delay may cause an increase in mortality and morbidity in cases without acute respiratory failure. We report our diagnostic and compare the relevant studies available in literature to our results.

Methods: In our Hospital, bronchoscopy was performed on 1015 patients with the diagnosis of foreign body aspirations (from 1998 to 2008). Of these cases, 63.5% were male and 36.5% female. Their ages ranged from 2 months to 9 years (mean 2.3 years). Diagnosis was made on history, physical examination, radiological methods and bronchoscopy.

Results: Foreign bodies were localized in the right main bronchus in 560 (55.1%) patients followed by left main bronchus in 191 (18.8%), trachea in 173 (17.1%), vocal cord in 75 (7.4%) and both bronchus in 16 (1.6%). Foreign body was not found during bronchoscopy in 48 cases (8.7%). The majority of the foreign bodies were seeds. Foreign bodies were removed with bronchoscopy in all cases. Pneumonia occurs in only 2.9% (29/1015) patients out of our cases.

Conclusion: Rigid bronchoscopy is very effective procedure for inhaled foreign body removal with fewer complications. Proper use of diagnostic techniques provides a high degree of success, and the treatment modality to be used depending on the type of the foreign body is mostly satisfactory.

Keywords: Bronchoscopy; Foreign body aspiration; radiological methods.

MeSH terms

  • Bronchoscopy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Foreign Bodies*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Inhalation*
  • Male
  • Pneumonia, Aspiration / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Aspiration / etiology
  • Pneumonia, Aspiration / physiopathology