Accidents with foreign bodies (FBs) are most common within the first two years of life. The airway FBs present a diagnostic dilemma as both the history and the investigations can be misleading. The persistent hypoxia presents a threat to life as does extraction. Moreover, the chemical pneumonitis induced by vegetative FB makes the situation even more worse. The FB of digestive tract are comparatively benign unless long standing. It is neither necessary for the airway FB to present with respiratory symptoms and signs nor for the FB of digestive tract to complain of dysphagia/throat pain. Oesophagoscopy may have to be done if an esophageal FB is causing only recurrent respiratory infections without dysphagia. The situation in dealing with FB varies from site to site in the aerodigestive tract.
This article stresses the various dubious factors including the history, examination and investigation which can lead to misdiagnosis and also those problems which are encountered during planned extraction as well as post-operatively.
Key wordsForeign bodies Aerodigestive tract Hypoxia
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