The management of ingested foreign bodies in children is not standardised.
During a 15-year period, we recorded 325 consecutive paediatric cases of ac
cidental ingestion of foreign bodies or with symptoms suggesting oesophagea
l obstruction presented at the emergency department or the paediatric gastr
oenterology unit. The foreign bodies that had to be removed were, in decrea
sing order of frequency: coins, toy parts, jewels, batteries, sharp materia
ls such as needles and pins, fish and chicken bones, and "large" amounts of
food. Only 54% of the patients had transient symptoms at the moment of ing
estion, such as retrosternal pain, cyanosis and dysphagia. A minority (28,
9%) of foreign bodies could be removed with a McGill forceps; 65 (20%) were
removed with a magnet probe. Endoscopic removal was performed in 82 cases
(25%). In the majority of cases (150, 46%) natural elimination occurred. Th
e outcome of all patients was uneventful.
Conclusion Recommendations for management of children presenting with a his
tory of suspected accidental ingestion of a foreign body for the community
paediatrician are proposed.