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Indian J Pediatr. 2009 Feb;76(2):157-61. doi: 10.1007/s12098-008-0231-2. Epub 2009 Jan 5.

Management strategies in foreign-body aspiration.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Surgery, Medical University of Graz, Austria, Europa. paola.zaupa@



The aim of this study is to outline a management algorithm to ensure effective teamwork in decreasing morbidity and mortality in pediatric Foreign-Body Aspirations (FBA). Furthermore, the role of flexible bronchoscopy when compared to rigid bronchoscopy in FBA was evaluated.


Charts of patients with suspected FBA from October 1999 to September 2006 were reviewed and data with regards to the history, presenting symptoms, diagnostics and therapeutic tactics, was collected.


A total of 77 children with suspicion of FBA were managed in the 7 year period. Bronchoscopies were performed in 63 patients and in 26 foreign-bodies (FB) were found and extracted. At referral, 53 patients did not present acute respiratory symptoms, but had a positive history of FBA, and in 13 FB were found. Despite negative chest x-rays in 55 patients, FB were found in 8. Rigid bronchoscopy was performed in 53 and flexible in 10 patients. In 3 out of 10 patients who had undergone flexible bronchoscopy a FB was identified, the extraction of which was performed using a rigid bronchoscope.


Clinical and radiological findings in children with typical history of suspected FBA are not enough to confirm the presence of FB. Successful management with an extremely low rate of morbidity and no mortality was observed using the algorithm used at our center. Flexible bronchoscopy reduces the chances of airway tract injury; however a rigid bronchoscope is necessary for FB removal.

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