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Ulus Travma Acil Cerrahi Derg. 2020 Mar;26(2):247-254. doi: 10.14744/tjtes.2019.40350.

Ingested foreign bodies in children: Do they really pass spontaneously from the gastrointestinal tract? A single-centre experience with 1000 cases.

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Department of Pediatric Surgery, Başkent University Faculty of Medicine, Adana-Turkey.



Foreign body (FB) ingestion is frequently encountered in all departments that treat children. FB may bring about significant anxiety for parents and physicians. The present study aims to determine the appropriate approach for FB ingestion in children.


The records of 1000 children with a history of FB ingestion between the years 2005 and 2017 were reviewed retrospectively in this study.


Of 1000 children, 53.8% were male. The most common types of FBs were coins (35%). X-ray was negative in 49% of the patients, and 86% of these patients received no intervention. Of the 504 (51%) X-ray-positive patients, the oesophagus (68%) was the most common location. Life-threatening complications were tracheo-oesophageal fistula (1), Meckel's diverticulum perforation (1), and perforation due to rigid endoscopy (1).


We demonstrated that coins, which are the most commonly ingested FBs, have various types and sizes according to their countries of origin, and this affects spontaneous passage. We found that only 48% (quite low compared to the literature) of the coins passed spontaneously. In asymptomatic patients with a gastric button battery, we suggest a "watchful waiting" approach. The patients should be observed and managed at home. In our study, we found that 85% of the button batteries that reached the stomach passed spontaneously.

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