How accurate is chest radiography in the diagnosis of tracheobronchial foreign bodies in children?
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The radiographic and endoscopic findings of 83 consecutive patients with suspected foreign body (FB) inhalation into the tracheobronchial tree were compared and the accuracy of chest radiography was estimated. Typical radiologic signs of FB aspiration, such as localized air trapping, atelectasis and infection occurred on radiographs of patients with and without FB. Twenty-four percent of patients with endoscopically verified FB had no abnormalities on chest radiography. In an analysis of radiographs of 83 consecutive patients, in which the prevalence of FB aspiration was 41%, the diagnostic accuracy was 67%, sensitivity 68% and specificity 67%. Plain film radiology alone is not a sufficiently sensitive nor specific method for the diagnosis of FB aspiration.
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