Foreign body aspiration

        Foreign body aspiration  , A foreign body aspiration happens when a foreign object enters the airway, causing breathing difficulties or choking. Objects can enter the respiratory tract and digestive tract through the mouth and nose, but aspiration occurs when an object enters the respiratory tract. The foreign body can then become trapped in the trachea or further down the respiratory tract, in a bronchus, for example. Any aspiration, regardless of the type of object, can be a life-threatening event that requires prompt diagnosis and action to reduce the risk of consequences. While developments in the treatment of this illness have resulted in much better clinical results, In 2018, there were still 2,700 deaths due to foreign body aspiration. Choking on food kills about one child every five days in the United States, underlining the need for better education and prevention.

Foreign body aspiration 



The entry of solid materials into the airway at the level of the glottal aperture, larynx, trachea, or bronchi is known as foreign body aspiration (FBA). FBA-related complications might be either immediate or delayed. When a foreign body becomes stuck in the glottal aperture, larynx, or trachea, it partially or totally obstructs the flow of air to both lungs, immediate difficulties develop. Respiratory arrest, negative-pressure pulmonary edema, pneumothorax, pneumomediastinum, subcutaneous emphysema, hypoxic neurologic injury are all immediate problems. as well as cardiac arrest When a foreign body lodges in one of the main or distal bronchi, it obstructs airflow to the lung distal to the blockage, causing delayed problems. Recurrent pneumonia, bronchiectasis, and pyelopneumothorax are among the delayed consequences.




Symptoms and signs

Foreign body aspiration symptoms vary depending on the place of obstruction, the size of the foreign body, and the severity of the obstruction. 80% of foreign bodies become trapped in a bronchus, while 20% become lodged in the upper airway. Coughing, choking, and/or wheezing are common signs of foreign body aspiration; however, symptoms might develop more slowly if the foreign body does not produce a significant obstruction of the airway. Aspiration, on the other hand, can be asymptomatic in some cases.

Patients usually present with a sudden onset of choking. The obstruction is classified as partial or total in certain situations. Choking with drooling, stridor, and the patient’s capacity to talk are all signs of partial obstruction. Choking with inability to speak or the absence of bilateral breath sounds, as well as other indicators of respiratory distress such as cyanosis, are all signs of total obstruction. It’s possible that you have a fever. It’s conceivable that the object is chemically irritating or polluted if this is the case.






Foreign bodies above the larynx frequently cause stridor, although items below the larynx rarely do.

Wheezing is present in the larynx. Swallowing difficulties and pain, as well as excessive drooling, are common symptoms of foreign bodies above the vocal chords. Pain and trouble speaking and breathing are common symptoms of foreign bodies beneath the vocal cords. In a youngster who is unable to communicate or report whether or not they have eaten a foreign body, an increased respiration rate may be the only indicator of aspiration.

Patients may appear with chronic cough, asymmetrical breath sounds on exam, or recurrent pneumonia of a specific lung lobe if the foreign body does not create a high degree of obstruction. If the aspiration happened weeks or months ago,   The object may have caused obstructive pneumonia or possibly a lung abscess in the past. As a result, persistent foreign body aspiration should be considered in individuals who have had unexplained recurrent pneumonia or lung abscess with or without fever.





The right lower lobe of the lung is the most prevalent site of recurrent pneumonia in people who have aspirated a foreign body. This is due to the right major bronchus’ anatomy being wider and steeper than the left main bronchus’, allowing items to enter more easily than the left side. Unlike adults, children have only a modest proclivity for things lodged in the right bronchus. This is most likely owing to the symmetry of the bilateral bronchial angles until the aortic knob fully develops and displaces the left major bronchus around the age of 15 years.

Adults’ signs and symptoms of foreign body aspiration can be confused with those of other lung diseases such asthma, COPD, and lung cancer.






Because children have a predisposition to put small things in their mouths and noses, the majority of instances of foreign body aspiration occur in children aged 6 months to 3 years. Because children of this age lack molars, they are unable to crush food into small enough bits for optimal swallowing. Foreign body aspiration is frequently caused by small, spherical objects such as nuts, hard sweets, popcorn kernels, beans, and berries. Latex balloons can potentially cause choking in youngsters, which can lead to death.

A latex balloon will adhere to the shape of the trachea, obstructing the airway and making the Heimlich maneuver harder to perform. Furthermore, if the foreign material, such as a bean, seed, or corn, can absorb water, it may enlarge with time, resulting in a more severe obstruction.

Adults with poor swallowing mechanisms, such as neurological illnesses, alcohol use, advanced age leading to senility (particularly common in the sixth decade of life), and loss of consciousness, are more likely to aspirate foreign bodies. It’s also possible that poor airway protection is at blame. Dentition, seizure, general anesthesia, or sedative medication use are all factors to consider.






An accurate history provided by an incident witness is the most significant part of the assessment for a clinician. Regrettably, this isn’t always possible.


Examination of the body

In addition to cardiac and pulmonary evaluations, a clinician’s physical examination should include a general assessment. Breath sounds can provide additional information about the position of the object and the degree of airway obstruction. Drooling and dysphagia (drooling) should always be noticed in conjunction with the traditional indications of airway obstruction, as these can indicate esophageal involvement and have an impact on therapy.


Imaging for diagnostic purposes

The most common type of imaging employed in the first examination of a foreign body presentation is radiography. To determine the location of the foreign body, the majority of patients undergo a chest x-ray. Patients suspected of aspirating a foreign body should have lateral neck, chest, and bilateral decubitus end-expiratory chest x-rays taken. However, because not all objects can be seen on chest radiography, the presence of normal results does not rule out foreign body aspiration. In reality, radiography can reveal normal findings in up to 50% of instances. This is because the visibility of an object is determined by a variety of elements, including the object’s substance, size, and shape.  the patient’s bodily habitus, as well as the anatomic position and surrounding structures [X-ray beams only show an object if its composition prevents the rays from passing through, rendering it radiopaque and making it look lighter or white on the image. This also necessitates it not being trapped behind something that stops the beams. Most metals, with the exception of aluminum, are radiopaque, as are bones, with the exception of most fish bones, and glass. The substance is called radiolucent if it does not block x-ray radiation and appears dark, preventing visibility. Most plastics, most fish bones, wood, and most aluminum objects fall into this category.





Other diagnostic imaging modalities, such as magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, and ventilation perfusion scans, are only used in the diagnosis of foreign body aspiration to a limited extent.

Visualization of the foreign body or hyperinflation of the afflicted lung are two x-ray signs that are more prevalent than the object itself and can indicate foreign body aspiration. Obstructive emphysema, atelectasis, and consolidation are further x-ray abnormalities that can be detected with foreign body aspiration.

While an x-ray can be used to visualize the location and identification of a foreign body, it cannot be utilized to diagnose it. The gold standard for diagnosis is rigid bronchoscopy under general anesthesia, which allows the foreign body to be viewed and removed. When two of the following three criteria are met, rigid bronchoscopy is recommended: patient or witness account of foreign body aspiration, abnormal lung exam results, or abnormal chest x-ray findings.






Treatment for foreign body aspiration is dictated on the patient’s age and the degree of the airway obstruction.




Management fundamentals

A partial or total obstruction of the airway is possible. When a foreign body is partially obstructed, the patient can usually clear it out by coughing. Complete occlusion necessitates immediate intervention to remove the foreign body.

Finger sweeping in the mouth is not indicated if foreign body aspiration is suspected because it increases the danger of moving the foreign object deeper into the airway.

If a kid under the age of one year is choking, the youngster should be placed face down over the rescuer’s arm. Back strikes should be delivered with the heel of the hand, followed by the patient being turned face-up and chest thrusts. Until the object is cleared, the rescuer should alternate five back punches with five chest thrusts. To dislodge a foreign body in choking patients over the age of one year, the Heimlich maneuver should be employed. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) should be initiated if the patient falls unconscious during physical intervention.


High-level management

If the basic treatments fail to remove the foreign body and proper breathing cannot be restored, trained personnel will be required to treat the patient. If non-invasive airway clearance procedures fail in unresponsive individuals, laryngoscopy should be performed. Laryngoscopy is a procedure that involves inserting a device into the mouth to view the rear of the airway. Forceps can be used to remove the foreign body if it is visible. After that, an endotracheal tube should be inserted to prevent airway compromise caused by the inflammation.

following the procedure Intubation, tracheotomy, or needle cricothyrotomy can be used to restore an airway in patients who have become comatose owing to airway compromise if the foreign body cannot be seen.

If non-invasive techniques fail to dislodge the foreign substance and the patient is able to breathe normally, a rigid bronchoscopy under general anesthesia should be performed. The patient should be given extra oxygen, have their heart monitored, and have a pulse oximeter. To avoid further airway compromise, make every effort to keep the patient quiet and avoid upsetting them. When the diagnosis or location of an object requires flexible bronchoscopy rather than rigid bronchoscopy, it may be used.




are ambiguous When a flexible bronchoscope is utilized, a rigid bronchoscope is usually on hand and ready to use because it is the preferred method of removal. Rigid bronchoscopy provides for greater airway control, hemorrhage control, visibility, and manipulation of the aspirated object using a variety of forceps. When distal access is required and the operator is skilled in this technique, flexible bronchoscopy may be employed for extraction. [14] The ability to access subsegmental bronchi, which are smaller in diameter and located deeper down the bronchus, is one of the potential benefits.

The major bronchi are smaller than the rest of the respiratory system. [14] The biggest drawback of employing a flexible scope is the possibility of further dislodging the object and compromising the airway. Bronchoscopy is successful in removing the foreign body in roughly 95% of cases, with only 1% of cases resulting in complications.

Patients should get nebulized beta-adrenergic medicine and chest physiotherapy after the foreign body is removed to further protect the airway.

Except in exceptional circumstances, steroidal anti-inflammatories and antibiotics are not commonly used. These include circumstances where the foreign body is difficult or impossible to remove, or when a respiratory tract infection has been documented.

When an object is removed from the airway, it might cause inflammation and edema within the airway. When a foreign body is surrounded by inflammatory tissue and evacuation is difficult or impossible, glucocorticoids may be used.





In such circumstances, extraction may be postponed for a brief course of glucocorticoids to minimize inflammation before trying again. Because this practice can result in the foreign body being dislodged, these patients should be kept in the hospital until the extraction is successful. Antibiotics are necessary when an infection has formed, but they should not be used to postpone extraction. In fact, getting rid of  The removal of the infectious source, as well as the use of cultures obtained during the bronchoscopy to guide antibiotic selection, may help to enhance infection management. [14] The patient may have stridor as a result of airway edema or swelling. Glucocorticoids, aerosolized epinephrine, or helium oxygen treatment may be used in these circumstances.

Patients who are clinically stable and do not require supplemental oxygen following extraction may be discharged the same day.

Routine imaging, such as a follow-up chest x-ray, isn’t required unless symptoms persist or worsen, or if the patient has previously had imaging abnormalities that need to be verified. The majority of youngsters are released from the hospital within 24 hours of the treatment.



If a foreign body persists in the airway, it can cause a slew of problems. Depending on the timing of events, issues may arise after the object has been removed. If a sudden total obstruction occurs without prompt medical attention, cardiac arrest and death are probable outcomes. A pulmonary infection, such as pneumonia or a lung abscess, is the most common complication of a foreign body aspiration. In the aged, this can be more difficult to overcome, leading to even greater difficulties. Patients




A foreign body that remains in the airway may cause inflammation of the airway walls. Secretions from the airway might be trapped behind the obstruction, creating an excellent environment for bacterial proliferation. If the foreign body is not removed, hyperinflation of the airway distal to the obstruction can ensue. Recurrent episodes of pneumonia in the same lung region should prompt a search for a foreign body in the airway.

Chemical bronchitis, mucosal responses, and the development of granulation tissue are all possible consequences, regardless of whether the foreign body is removed.

Interventions used to remove a foreign body from the airway might also cause complications.  The gold standard for removing a foreign body is rigid bronchoscopy, although this procedure is not without dangers. Damage to the patient’s teeth is the most prevalent complication of rigid bronchoscopy. [15] Cuts to the mouth or esophagus, bronchial tree perforation, vocal cord injury, pneumothorax, atelectasis, stricture, and perforation are also less usual consequences.





When considering how to reduce the risk of aspiration, numerous aspects must be considered, especially in the very young and elderly populations.

Children’s developmental level in terms of swallowing and protecting their airway via processes like as coughing and the gag reflex are the most important factors. Certain object properties, such as size, shape, and material, can also enhance the risk of choking in youngsters. When there are numerous children in a shared setting, toys and meals that are safe for older children can end up choking the smaller ones. Parental education When feasible, priority should be given to caregivers. This can happen through jobs like pediatricians, dentists, and instructors, as well as marketing in the media and written publications. Caretakers should be taught how to spot choking and administer first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, as well as how to check for warning labels and toy recalls and avoid high-risk objects and foods.

Choking risks warning labels are needed on packaging for small balls, marbles, balloons, and toys with small parts, thanks to several public initiatives such as the Child Safety Protection Act and the Federal Hazardous Substance Act (FHSA).




When they are designed for usage by youngsters in at-risk age groups, small pieces are required.  In addition, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 updated the FHSA to require choking hazard warnings to be included in advertisements on websites, catalogues, and other printed materials.






One of the most common and dangerous pediatric surgical emergencies is foreign body aspiration into the airway or esophagus.

The rate of morbidity and mortality varies between 0 and 4.8 percent.

Risks Associated with Surgery

Aspiration is a possibility, but it’s a minor one. The most dangerous time for vomiting or regurgitation with aspiration is during anesthesia induction and recovery.

If the patient’s health status is stable, a transfer to a specialized facility should be considered.


Urgent cases should be taken to the OR right away.



  • Acute presentation, with a parent or caretaker witnessing the child swallowing or aspirating a foreign body and developing cough, dyspnea, and stridor almost immediately; • Delayed presentation, with prolonged and often unexplained respiratory symptoms, such as cough, wheezing, and recurrent respiratory tract infections


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