Pediatric Surgery International

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 485–488 | Cite as

Foreign body aspiration in children: diagnosis and treatment

  • Adel K. AyedEmail author
  • Abdul Mohsen Jafar
  • Abdulla Owayed
Original Article


A total of 235 children, aged between 7 months and 15 years had bronchoscopy on suspicion of foreign body aspiration. The histories of these patients were studied to examine the diagnostic value of symptoms, signs, and chest x-rays, and rate of negative bronchoscopy. The sensitivity of choking and coughing was high (82% and 80%), but the specificity was poor (37% and 34%). The sensitivity of a chest radiograph was 66%, the specificity was 51%. The sensitivity of asymmetric auscultation was 80% and specificity was 72%. The sensitivity and specificity of combination of symptoms, signs and abnormal chest radiograph was 61% and 83%, respectively. In 206 (87.7%) children a foreign body was identified and extracted. The remaining 29 patients (12.3%) had negative bronchoscopy. A wide variety of objects was recovered, the most common being seeds and peanuts. Foreign bodies were in the right and left main bronchus in 72 (35%), 50 (24.3%) cases, respectively, while in the remaining 84 cases, the foreign bodies were in other parts of the respiratory tree. In 204 (99%) patients with foreign body aspiration, the foreign bodies were removed successfully using a rigid bronchoscopy. Minor complications like subglottic edema and bronchospasm occurred in 4 children. In conclusion, rigid bronchoscopy is a safe procedure and the only tool that will give certainty about the correct diagnosis of foreign body aspiration in children. Asymmetric auscultation is more specific than history and chest radiograph. The combination of history, clinical signs and radiological signs are more specific than each one separately.


Aspiration Bronchoscopy Complications Foreign body Signs and symptoms 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adel K. Ayed
    • 1
    Email author
  • Abdul Mohsen Jafar
    • 1
  • Abdulla Owayed
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Surgery Faculty of MedicineKuwait University SafatKuwait
  2. 2.Department of Paediatrics Faculty of MedicineKuwait University and Ministry of HealthKuwaitKuwait

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