Foreign body (FB) aspiration is a common cause of respiratory emergency in early childhood and is associated with a high rate of airway distress. FB aspiration peaks at the age of 1-2 years. Factors placing children at higher risk include incomplete dentition, immature swallowing coordination and the tendency to be easily distracted while eating. Symptoms may vary from an un-affected child to impending airway failure. Mucosal cough receptors often accommodate and the child may be asymptomatic when evaluated.
Files of children (0-15 years) admitted with suspected FB aspiration were reviewed. Patients were included if the FB was confirmed by bronchoscopy.
Among 136 children undergoing bronchoscopy, a FB was confirmed in 59 patients. The median age was one year. All children had a history of aspiration and in 48% a persistent cough was present at the initial examination. Eleven children (19%) had a normal physical examination at admission. Nuts were identified in 34% and carrots in 20%. Of the FBs removed, 86% were organic and 14% were inorganic. Organic FBs were more common in patients younger than three years (p