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Age Ageing. 2005 Sep;34(5):519-20. Epub 2005 Jun 19.

Mystery of the missing denture: an unusual cause of respiratory arrest in a nonagenarian.

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School of Medicine, Keele University, and Staffordshire General Hospital, Stafford, UK.


To ask older people about loose or ill-fitting dentures is not common practice during a hospital admission. Our patient presented to the emergency department following a primary respiratory arrest. A dislodged denture was extracted from the hypo-pharynx under local anaesthesia and was presumably the cause of the respiratory arrest. Any delays in finding the missing denture and its extraction could have resulted in the patient being given a general anaesthetic and its associated complications. We suggest that asking about loose-fitting dentures should form part of comprehensive geriatric assessment.

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