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Age Ageing. 2009 Jul;38(4):396-400. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afp044. Epub 2009 Apr 28.

Prevalence of flexible bronchoscopic removal of foreign bodies in the advanced elderly.

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  • 1Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Environmental, and Sleep Medicine, Carilion Clinic, Roanoke, VA 24014, USA.



to define the likelihood and establish the overall safety and effectiveness of flexible bronchoscopy in the removal of foreign bodies in the advanced elderly compared to those younger.


a retrospective case-control analysis.


tertiary care academic hospital.


7,089 adults (age >18 years), including 949 (15%) advanced elderly (age >75 years), who underwent flexible bronchoscopy between January 1995 and June 2007.


in those patients with foreign body aspiration (FBA) (n = 20), a comparison of multiple clinical characteristics based on defined age groups (group 1, age <75 years and group 2, age >75 years) was performed.


FBA requiring bronchoscopic removal was greater than three and a half times more likely in patients aged >75 years compared to those younger (OR 3.78, CI 1.4-10: P <0.05). Flexible bronchoscopy was 87.5% effective in the removal of foreign bodies in the advanced elderly and associated with no increase in adverse events.


bronchoscopic removal of foreign bodies is more likely in the advanced elderly when compared to those younger. This implies that this population may be most at risk. Flexible bronchoscopy is a safe and effective initial diagnostic and therapeutic approach in this age group.

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