Management of ingested foreign bodies in childhood: our experience and review of the literature

Eur J Emerg Med. 1998 Sep;5(3):319-23.


The management of foreign bodies in the gastrointestinal tract is not standardized. Retrospectively, we analysed the management of 174 cases of accidental ingestion of foreign bodies in children. No child had ingested more than one foreign object. The ingested foreign bodies were: coins, toy parts, jewels, batteries, 'sharp' materials such as needles and pins, fish and chicken bone, and 'large' amounts of food. Of the patients 51% had transient symptoms at the moment of ingestion, such as retrosternal pain, cyanosis and dysphasia. Attempts to extract the foreign body either by a magnet tube, endoscopy or McGill forceps was performed in 83 patients. The majority of the extracted foreign bodies were batteries and sharp materials. The outcome of all the patients was excellent. No complications were observed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Belgium / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Digestive System*
  • Emergency Treatment
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal
  • Esophagus
  • Female
  • Foreign Bodies / diagnosis
  • Foreign Bodies / epidemiology
  • Foreign Bodies / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Intestines
  • Male
  • Oropharynx*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome