Pediatric aerodigestive foreign body injuries are complications related to timeliness of diagnosis

J. Reilly, J. Thompson, C. MacArthur, S. Pransky, D. Beste, M. Smith, S. Gray, S. Manning, M. Walter, C. Derkay, H. Muntz, E. Friedman, C. M. Myer, R. Seibert, K. Riding, J. Cuyler, W. Todd, R. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Foreign body (FB) injury from aspiration or ingestion is a common pediatric health problem. Diagnosis relies on clinical judgment plus medical history, physical examination, and radiographic evaluation. A multi- institutional review of 1269 FB events revealed that 85% were correctly diagnosed following a single physician encounter. However, 15% of the children had an elusive diagnosis (>1 week), despite previous evaluation. Delays in diagnosis were seven times more likely to occur in aspirations than in ingestions. Secondary injuries (e.g., pneumonia and atelectasis) occurred in 13% of airway FBs but in only 1.7% of esophageal FBs. Plain radiographs were used in 82% of children, and special studies (e.g., fluoroscopy) in only 7%. We conclude that diagnosis of FB injury in children is frequently achieved at the initial evaluation but that continued surveillance by follow- up visits to health care facilities from parents and other caretakers is important, to reduce pulmonary injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-20
Number of pages4
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Airway injury
  • Esophageal injury
  • Foreign body injury
  • Pediatrics
  • Pneumonia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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