Background: Foreign bodies in the aerodigestive tract continue to be a common problem that contributes significantly to high morbidity and mortality worldwide. This study was conducted to describe our own experience with endoscopic procedures for removal of foreign bodies in the aerodigestive tract, in our local setting and compare with what is described in literature.
Methods: This was a prospective descriptive study which was conducted at Bugando Medical Centre between January 2008 and December 2009. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire and analyzed using SPSS computer software version 15.
Results: A total of 98 patients were studied. Males outnumbered females by a ratio of 1.1:1. Patients aged 2 years and below were the majority (75.9%). The commonest type of foreign bodies in airways was groundnuts (72.7%) and in esophagus was coins (72.7%). The trachea (52.2%) was the most common site of foreign body's lodgment in the airways, whereas cricopharyngeal sphincter (68.5%) was the commonest site in the esophagus. Rigid endoscopy with forceps removal under general anesthesia was the main treatment modality performed in 87.8% of patients. The foreign bodies were successfully removed without complications in 90.8% of cases. Complication rate was 7.1% and bronchopneumonia was the most common complication accounting for 42.8% of cases. The mean duration of hospital stay was 3.4 days and mortality rate was 4.1%.
Conclusion: Aerodigestive tract foreign bodies continue to be a significant cause of childhood morbidity and mortality in our setting. Rigid endoscopic procedures under general anesthesia are the main treatment modalities performed. Prevention is highly recommended whereby parents should be educated to keep a close eye on their children and keep objects which can be foreign bodies away from children's reach.