Foreign body aspiration in children: experience from 2624 patients

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2013 Oct;77(10):1683-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2013.07.026. Epub 2013 Aug 17.


Objectives: The objective of this study is to analyze the epidemiological, clinical, radiological and endoscopic characteristics of pediatric foreign body aspiration in Algeria.

Methods: In this retrospective study, the results of 2624 children younger than 18 years admitted in our department for respiratory foreign body removal between 1989 and 2012, were presented. Most of them had an ambulatory rigid bronchoscopy.

Results: The children (62.34% males and 37.65% females) were aged 4 months to 18 years with 66% between 1 and 3 years. Choking was related in 65% of cases. The delay between aspiration and removal was 2-8 days in 65.8% and within 24 h in 9.2%. In the most cases, the children arrived with cough, laryngeal or bronchial signs and unilateral reduction of vesicular murmur. The examination was normal in 13%. The most common radiologic finding was pulmonary air trapping (40.7%). The aspirated bodies were organic in 66.7%, dominated by peanuts, while sunflower seeds, beans and ears of wheat were the most dangerous. In the other cases, they were metallic or plastic as pen caps and recently scarf pins. The endoscopic removal by rigid bronchoscopy was successful and complete in 97%. Cases with extraction failure (3%) limited to certain FBs, all of them inorganic were assigned to surgery. The complications related to the endoscopic procedure were 0.29% with a mortality of 0.26%.

Conclusion: Foreign body aspiration is a real public health problem in Algeria. The best way to manage it is an early diagnosis and a rigid bronchoscopy removal under general anesthesia used by fully trained staff. The prevention of this domestic accident should consider the population lifestyle and cultural habits to be more effective.

Keywords: Aspiration; Children; Complications; Foreign body; Headscarf pins; Rigid bronchoscopy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Airway Obstruction / diagnosis
  • Airway Obstruction / etiology
  • Algeria / epidemiology
  • Bronchi*
  • Bronchoscopy / methods*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Foreign Bodies / diagnostic imaging
  • Foreign Bodies / epidemiology*
  • Foreign Bodies / surgery*
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / diagnosis
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / epidemiology
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / surgery*
  • Granuloma, Foreign-Body / diagnosis
  • Granuloma, Foreign-Body / epidemiology
  • Granuloma, Foreign-Body / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Respiratory Aspiration / diagnosis
  • Respiratory Aspiration / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Treatment Outcome