Ethnic differences of children with foreign body aspiration: a need for preventive education

  • Ohad RonenEmail author
  • Florencia Kanelo
  • Deborah Shor
  • Maureen Ashkar
  • Ilana Kepten



Only in 2005 was a product labeling law passed in Israel that requires food companies to mark a choking hazard. We wished to investigate the influence of the hazard warning on the number of foreign body aspirations (FBA) in Israel, as well as the racial differences in the prevalence of and death rates from FBA.

Materials and Methods

All the medical records of patients under the age of 14 who arrived at our center’s emergency department between the years 2007 and 2015 with suspected FBA were retrospectively reviewed. Population data was extracted from the Central Bureau of Statistics.


Overall, 90 children arrived at the hospital with suspected FBA during 2007–2015. Forty-six (51%) of the patients were males, the mean age was 3.5 years. Seventy-one bronchoscopies were performed due to high suspicious presence of a foreign body. The most common objects aspirated were different types of nuts and seeds. In all cases, the patient's parents witnessed the aspiration of the foreign body. Most children (77, 86%) were of Arab ethnicity. The yearly prevalence of FBA in children 0–4 years of Arab ethnicity was 16.6:100,000 compared to 6.0:100,000 in the non-Arab population (p < 0.001).


FBA is still a common injury in our region. Since most cases are preventable, efforts should be targeted among the population at higher risk, which are parents of children under the age of 4 and parents of Arab ethnicity. We believe that national effort and support for preventive education are needed.


Foreign body aspiration Ethnic group Children 



Foreign body aspirations



We wish to thank Orly Yakir for the statistical analysis and Migal-CBR for the editorial assistance.



Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Florencia Kanelo, Deborah Shor, Maureen Ashkar, Ilana Kepten and Ohad Ronen declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The study was approved by the institutional review board prior to its commencement (Registration number: NHR010115).

Informed consent

Written consent was waived by the institutional review board.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck SurgeryGalilee Medical Center Affiliated with Bar-Ilan University Faculty of MedicineSafedIsrael
  2. 2.O.R.T.-Braude College of EngineeringKarmielIsrael

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