Pediatric Aural Foreign Body Extraction: Comparison of Efficacies Among Clinical Settings and Retrieval Methods

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2021 Mar;164(3):662-666. doi: 10.1177/0194599820953130. Epub 2020 Sep 8.


Objectives: To compare the efficacy of aural foreign body (FB) extractions among medical care settings and determine if certain methods of extraction resulted in higher failure rates and procedural complications.

Study design: Case series with chart review.

Setting: Emergency departments (EDs), urgent cares (UCs), pediatric primary care providers (PCPs), and otolaryngologists (ENTs).

Methods: A total of 366 pediatric patients with EAC foreign bodies at a tertiary children's hospital and associated satellite clinics.

Results: The ED/UCs (17.46%), PCPs (75.22%), and ENTs (94.54%) exhibited highly variable success rates for pediatric aural FB extractions. Complications were considerably higher for attempts by ED/UCs (22.22%) as compared with PCPs (2.61%) and those of unclear etiology (2.73% of all attempts). Use of balloon-tipped catheters and adhesive-tipped probes (eg, cyanoacrylate/superglue) for FB extraction exhibited 0% success rates with high severity of complications.

Conclusion: Our statistics provide an example in which ED/UCs had higher failure rates at pediatric aural FB removals when compared with PCPs and ENTs. If a single provider (PCP or ED/UC) fails to retrieve an aural FB or if the provider is not comfortable conducting the procedure, then referral to an ENT is preferable to another PCP or ED/UC. Our evidence reveals that balloon-tipped catheters and adhesive-tipped probes for FB removal in the pediatric population are prone to failure and higher rates/severity of complications.

Keywords: adhesive; aural; balloon-tipped catheter; cyanoacrylate; emergency; extraction; foreign body; retrieval; superglue; urgent care.