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Eur J Pediatr. 2001 Aug;160(8):468-72.

Management of ingested foreign bodies in childhood and review of the literature.

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  • 1Academisch Ziekenhuis Kinderen, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.


The management of ingested foreign bodies in children is not standardised. During a 15-year period, we recorded 325 consecutive paediatric cases of accidental ingestion of foreign bodies or with symptoms suggesting oesophageal obstruction presented at the emergency department or the paediatric gastroenterology unit. The foreign bodies that had to be removed were, in decreasing order of frequency: coins, toy parts, jewels, batteries, sharp materials such as needles and pins, fish and chicken bones, and "large" amounts of food. Only 54% of the patients had transient symptoms at the moment of ingestion, such as retrosternal pain, cyanosis and dysphagia. A minority (28, 9%) of foreign bodies could be removed with a McGill forceps; 65 (20%) were removed with a magnet probe. Endoscopic removal was performed in 82 cases (25%). In the majority of cases (150, 46%) natural elimination occurred. The outcome of all patients was uneventful.


Recommendations for management of children presenting with a history of suspected accidental ingestion of a foreign body for the community paediatrician are proposed.

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