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Pediatric Foreign Body Ingestion

Continuing Education Activity

Children normally swallow alien bodies. Coins are the most normally swallowed extraneous torso that comes to checkup attention in the USA ; in early countries, those related to food, such as fish bones, are most coarse. Preschoolers of both sexes, adolescent boys, and children with genial health issues are at the highest risk. even infants may swallow extraneous bodies that are given to them, possibly by older siblings. Most swallow extraneous bodies will harmlessly pass through the GI tract, but some will lead to health problems if they become lodge ( for example, excessively big to pass. This activeness reviews the pathophysiology of foreign consistency consumption and highlights the function of the interprofessional team in its management. Objectives:

  • Describe the pathophysiology of absorb foreign bodies .
  • Outline the evaluation of a patient who has ingested a foreign body.
  • Describe the treatment and management options available for absorb extraneous bodies .
  • Summarize interprofessional team strategies for improving care coordination and outcomes in patients who have ingested foreign bodies .

Access free multiple choice questions on this topic.


Children normally swallow foreign bodies. Coins are the most normally swallowed foreign torso that comes to checkup care in the U.S. ; in other countries, those related to food, such as fish bones, are most common. Preschoolers of both sexes, adolescent boys, and children with mental health issues are at the highest risk. tied infants may swallow foreign bodies that are given to them, possibly by older siblings. Most accept alien bodies will harmlessly pass through the GI tract, but some will lead to health problems if they become charge ( for example, excessively large to pass or little objects like a pill that may adhere to a damp surface ) ; traumatize the mucous membrane ( for example, acute or sharpen object, like a razor blade or peg ), or cause caustic burn injury ( for example, biologically active substances, such as a button battery or a medication bandage ). [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ]


typically, pediatric foreign body consumption is accidental, although careful consumption can besides occur. Most cases occur in children due to the consumption of small objects. Children with psychological deterioration are besides at high risk for infesting foreign bodies. Button/disc batteries may cause serious wound if lodged in the esophagus, scent, ear, or another orifice for even a brief period. The highest risk is associated with larger lithium-based batteries, but all models carry some risk. Children with suspected button/disc battery consumption should be managed urgently ; a battery lodged in the esophagus should be removed without delay. Treatment algorithm for button/disc battery ingestions are wide available. [ 4 ] [ 5 ] A button/disc battery may be distinguished from a mint when seen on a radiogram by its feature two-layer appearance when seen on-end, or a circle-within-a-circle appearance when seen front-to-back. Small, potent magnets, such as those found in some toys and games, may cause serious injury to the intestines, as the strong drawing card between two or more magnets may cause them to erode through intervening tissues. [ 6 ] A single swallowed magnet in combination with another metallic object, most notably a button/disc battery, may besides cause wound. Preexisting GI tract abnormalities, such as former operating room, strictures, fistulas, diverticulum, or functional abnormalities, increases the gamble of a swallow foreign soundbox becoming lodged at the web site of the abnormality .


The huge majority of ingestions occur in the six months to three year age image. [ 7 ] [ 8 ] [ 9 ] Children and mentally ill patients normally swallow extraneous bodies. Coins are most normally swallowed in the U.S. while in other countries, pisces bones tend to be the most common form of consumption. [ 10 ] [ 11 ] Occasional death reports from consumption happen, but deathrate is by and large identical low from foreign body consumption. [ 9 ] [ 12 ] [ 13 ] Over the end two decades, attraction consumption has increased in the US, specially in children less than five years old .


The most common complication of alien body consumption in children is obstruction of the object in the esophagus, although the extraneous body may become lodge anywhere in the gastrointestinal ( GI ) tract. once lodged, the object may partially or wholly obstruct the GI tract. Furthermore, some foreign bodies may erode through the GI tract, causing complications due to perforation or migration of the object. Certain patients may be at higher hazard for retentiveness, obstruction, or perforation. These include younger patients with smaller human body, those with anterior upper GI tract operating room, history of meaning gastroesophageal reflux or eosinophilic esophagitis, neuromuscular disease states, or presence of congenital malformations. [ 5 ] [ 14 ] The most park site for obstacle is at the pectoral inlet, which is the area between the clavicles on x-ray. The cricopharyngeus sling located at C6 is besides located at this level and known to be a common site for the lodgment of foreign bodies. About 10 to 15 % of extraneous bodies get trapped in the mid esophagus, where the carina and aortal arch overall the esophagus. The rest receive entrapped at the lower esophageal junction. foreign bodies are likely to get lodged in children with preexisting esophageal abnormalities. once a foreign body reaches the stomach, it is less likely to be associated with complications. however, some alien bodies can become trapped at the ileocecal valve .

History and Physical

In cases of suspected extraneous body consumption, the respiratory tract ( including the oropharynx ) and breathing should be evaluated promptly. A alien body that has become obstructed within or injured the esophagus may cause chest pain or a alien body sensation. Symptoms may be more noteworthy when swallowing. Younger children may drool, gag, vomit, or refuse food. hematemesis and cough may be award. A foreign body lodged in the stomach or intestines may cause abdominal pain, vomiting, or bloody stools. If present for a drawn-out period, fever or weight personnel casualty may develop. A extraneous body that has completely obstructed the esophagus will cause more dramatic symptoms. importantly, however, there may be no signs or symptoms ( or they may be insidious and hard to recognize ) in pediatric ingestions. Since many foreign body ingestions by children are unwitnessed, the possibility of non-specific symptoms being caused by alien soundbox consumption should always be considered. In one serial, for example, lone half of the patients had any symptoms whatsoever despite witness consumption of a alien body. [ 15 ] Swallowed foreign bodies that contain nickel may cause systemic signs and symptoms, such as rash or pruritus, in patients with nickel sensitivity .


If a complete history and physical examination ( including examination of the throat ) suggest possible foreign body consumption, the supplier must decide whether visualize is indicated. If so, normally plain radiogram suffice initially. healthy children with late, low-risk ingestions may be plainly detect. metallic swallowed alien bodies, such as coins and batteries, will show up promptly on a plain radiogram. metal detectors are occasionally used, particularly in the set of known coin consumption. [ 16 ] [ 17 ] [ 18 ] It is not unusual to find an unexpected foreign body on a radiogram obtained for the evaluation of non-specific symptoms, such as a cough, fever, or weight personnel casualty. Most glaze fragments are visible on a radiogram. radiolucent objects, such as a large piece of kernel or a fictile plaything, may not be apparent on radiogram, although their edges or irregularities may still be obtrusive on radiography. affected patients may require more advance imagination techniques, such as contrast-enhanced radiography or MRI scan, but these patients may besides be considered for discussion ( for example, endoscopy ) without far visualize. [ 19 ] [ 20 ] [ 21 ]

Treatment / Management

Most children who have swallowed a alien body do not require invasive treatment. Asymptomatic, previously healthy children who have swallowed low-risk alien bodies typically will do well. Patients and caregivers should be instructed on the signs and symptoms of subsequent electric potential complications. [ 22 ] [ 23 ] [ 24 ] Foreign bodies that are lodged in the esophagus are most normally removed endoscopically. [ 25 ] Some, specially those lodged in the lower esophagus at the gastroesophageal articulation, will pass spontaneously into the stomach after a few hours ; this is safe for coins and like little, inert objects, in children with otherwise convention GI tracts who are at low gamble of far complication as the object passes through the remainder of the GI tract. Some centers will remove small esophageal foreign bodies, specially coins, with a bougie or a balloon catheter ; these require substantial know. endoscopy is besides typically used to remove big, crisp, pointed, or other bad objects from the stomach, or in patients for whom proceed passage of the aim through the GI nerve pathway poses a risk. Objects in the lower GI tract should be managed in conjunction with a specialist, who may recommend surgical removal. aesculapian management of foreign body consumption is not recommended. Emetics, muscleman relaxants, and kernel tenderizers are typically ineffective, and are potentially dangerous, in the treatment of children with esophageal alien bodies. [ 26 ] Laxatives are occasionally used to promote the passage of objects from the intestines, but this practice has not been proved effective.

Differential Diagnosis

The differential gear for pediatric foreign body consumption is broad, but the be entities should be considered ( or ruled out ) in patients presenting with such complaints :

  • esophagitis
  • pyloric stenosis
  • laryngitis
  • sore throat
  • Globus sensation
  • esophageal rupture


The outcomes and prognosis in pediatric foreign consistency consumption are by and large good, with most patients tolerating passage of absorb objects without intervention. tied in scenarios where intervention is needed, mortality and unwholesomeness are broken. bad ingestions ( button batteries, magnets ) can be associated with complications, and in rare instances, end. [ 8 ] [ 12 ] [ 13 ] systemic reactions associated with zinc allergy have been reported. Esophageal foreign bodies have been known to cause mediastinitis, perforation, and pneumomediastinum. Button batteries cause the highest unwholesomeness, and therefore, they need to be removed angstrom soon as the diagnosis is made. finally, procedures to remove foreign bodies can besides cause complications- either from the anesthesia or the routine .


As stated above, esophageal obstruction is the most coarse complicatedness of alien body consumption in children. [ 27 ] however, some alien bodies may erode through the GI tract, causing complications due to perforation or migration of the aim. The follow complications may be observed in rare cases :

  • esophageal or stomach perforation
  • pneumothorax
  • Mucosal erosion
  • Aortoenteric fistula
  • pressure necrosis
  • failure to thrive secondary to decrease oral inhalation

Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes

management of children who have swallowed foreign bodies requires an interprofessional approach. Physicians, nurses, poison control specialists, radioscopy technologists, child life sentence specialists, ambulance personnel, and others must work together to provide continuous, child-friendly care, both sharply and in follow-up. [ Levels 3, 4, and 5 ] The nurse should educate the parent and health professional about the dangers of leaving small items around children. In addition, parents should be told never to keep button batteries around children as they are known to cause rapid damage to the GI tract. [ 28 ] [ 29 ] ( Level 5 ) unusual or perennial alien body consumption should prompt consideration of psychosocial concerns and an evaluation by a mental health professional. Foreign body consumption may be risk-taking or attention-seeking behavior. Abuse or neglect may be deliver. mental illness may lead some children to swallow alien bodies. This may be accidental, such as the affected role with bulimia who loses grip on a toothbrush used to induce vomiting and swallows it. Packets of drugs may be swallowed to avoid detection by patrol.

prevention of foreign torso consumption in children is a high precedence. Caregivers should be educated about preventing little children from contact with small objects that may be harmful if swallowed, particularly button/disc batteries, modest magnets, and other bad objects. This includes items placed into a folderol container that may be accessible to children. Outcomes The majority of consume alien bodies pass through the gastrointestinal tract without any complications. In rare cases, the retain foreign body may cause ulcer, perforation, bleeding, or localized stricture geological formation. The most dangerous foreign bodies are clitoris batteries, which can quickly cause mucosal injury. Magnets are besides known to cause mucosal wound in the small intestine leading to perforation. In rare cases, complications are besides known to occur during removal of the extraneous body- normally from the anesthesia. [ 1 ] [ 30 ] [ Level 5 ]

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