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Foreign Body Aspiration

more about Foreign Body Aspiration


Inhalation of a foreign object; obstructed airway



  • A condition in which a foreign object is inhaled and lodged into the lower respiratory tract, via the mouth or nose, causing respiratory problems.
  • It usually occurs in children who are between 6 months and 3 years of age.
  • It occurs in boys twice as often as girls.

  • Aspiration may cause only minimal initial symptoms
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Harsh sound on inhalation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood

  • A peanut is the most common aspirated foreign object.
  • Hot dogs, balloons, small toys, buttons, beads, coins, marbles, pins, screws, rocks, and anything else small enough for children to put in their mouth or nose.

  • History:
    1. Choking (object in airway) episode in only 50 - 80 % of cases
    2. Symptoms such as coughing, wheezing.  But initial symptoms can be minimal until a lung infection presents.
    3. Pneumonia that does not respond to antibiotics treatment
  • Physical exam:
    1. Locally diminished or absent breath sounds in 50 % of cases
    2. Increased heart and respiration rate (i.e., number of breaths per minute)
  • Images of the lungs:
    1. Chest X-ray, inspiratory and expiratory X-ray: These may show air trapping, mediastinal shift, atelectasis, or lung infection.
    2. Fluoroscopy
  • Rigid bronchoscopy for definitive diagnosis

  • Administering oxygen
  • Rigid bronchoscopy to remove the object
  • Antibiotics
  • Chest physiotherapy after endoscopy

  • Call 911 immediately for emergency medical assistance.  If you think your child has aspirated, he or she needs emergency treatment.

  • Do not leave your small child alone.
  • Keep the small objects from your child.
  • Do not force feed your child during crying or rapid breathing.




more about Foreign Body Aspiration


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