The findings of a retrospective analysis of the charts of 426 children admitted on 484 occasions with diagnoses of esophageal foreign bodies that were managed at the Hospital for Sick Children for 15 years to the end of 1989 are reported. In the majority of cases, ingestion of the foreign body was either witnessed or suspected. Removal was completed with the use of general anesthesia with endotracheal intubation in 90% of cases. The postcricoid area was the commonest site for impaction. Coins were the commonest foreign body. Approximately 5% of children had more than one foreign body. Fifty-nine children had esophageal anomalies. Thoracotomy or laparotomy for the retrieval of foreign bodies was necessary in less than 1% of patients. Complications occurred in 13% of patients; there were no deaths.
Coins have remained at the top of the incidence list of published series of endoscopic removal of pediatric foreign bodies. The introduction of the Canadian dollar coin in 1987 has presented another hazard for children. A total of 228 consecutive pediatric patients that underwent esophagoscopy for removal of foreign body from 1979 to 1989 are reviewed. Esophagoscopy under general anesthesia is the safest technique for the removal of impacted foreign bodies in the esophagus.
Extraction of a foreign body from the tracheobronchial tree was accomplished for 83 children. The mean age was 1 year 9 months for the 27 girls and 3 years 1 month for the 56 boys; 46 children (55%) were younger than 2 years of age. Sixteen (19%) of the foreign bodies were radiopaque, and 35 (42%) were either verified or suspected radiologically before endoscopy. Forty-one foreign bodies (49%) were situated in the right bronchial tree. Extraction was successful in 81 children (98%) and was performed on 50 children (60%) during the first 24 hours. Twenty-five (30%) of the foreign bodies were peanuts. Three children experienced a residual foreign body, without serious complications. We believe that an open tube bronchoscopy should be performed whenever abnormal stridor or cough is observed in a healthy child and when appropriate antibiotic therapy is unsuccessful.