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Pediatr Surg Int. 1997 Mar 21;12(2/3):118-20.

Bronchial foreign body: should bronchoscopy be performed in all patients with a choking crisis?

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  • 1Pediatric Surgery Department, Pediatric Hospital La Fe, Avenida de Campanar, 21, E-46009 Valencia, Spain


The aspiration of a bronchial foreign body (FB) remains a common pediatric problem with serious and sometimes fatal sequelae. The diagnosis is often delayed or overlooked. With the aim of determining a reliable clinical and/or radiologic finding to indicate the requirement for bronchoscopy, 100 patients admitted to our hospital because of FB aspiration who underwent rigid bronchoscopy were retrospectively studied. The clinical and radiologic data were compared with the bronchoscopy findings, which revealed that the history of a choking crisis was the clinical parameter that showed the highest sensitivity (97%) with high specificity (63%), and that other symptoms and radiology, even those with high sensitivity (88% and 85%, respectively), had low specificity (9%). We conclude that bronchoscopy should be performed in all patients with a history of a choking crisis even if they have normal radiologic findings and few symptoms.

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