Surgical Endoscopy

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 1360–1364

Removal of tracheobronchial foreign bodies in adults using flexible bronchoscopy: experience 1995–2006

  • Kornelija Mise
  • Anamarija Jurcev Savicevic
  • Neven Pavlov
  • Stipan Jankovic

DOI: 10.1007/s00464-008-0181-9

Cite this article as:
Mise, K., Jurcev Savicevic, A., Pavlov, N. et al. Surg Endosc (2009) 23: 1360. doi:10.1007/s00464-008-0181-9



Tracheobronchial foreign body (TFB) removal in adult patients using the combined technique of flexible bronchoscopy (FBSC) through the endotracheal tube as well as using the simple FBSC has not often been described. This study reports our experience with FBSC for removal of TFBs and describes diagnosis, techniques of removal, and types of TFBs.


We retrospectively examined bronchoscopic records of adult patients performed between 1995 and 2006 and collection of foreign bodies in Clinical Department for Respiratory Diseases, University Hospital Split, Croatia.


TFBs were found in 86 (0.33%) out of 26,124 patients who were submitted to bronchoscopy. The majority of the patients (90%) had some risk factor for aspiration, among which stroke (30%) was the most frequent. Patients with different neurologic and neuromuscular diseases together accounted for 58% of all patients with TFB aspiration. Medical history was suggestive of foreign body aspiration in 38.4% of the patients, while chest X-ray was indicative in 7% of the patients. TFBs were most often found in the right bronchial tree (75.6%). The most common TFBs were animal and fish bones (39.5%). In 90.7% of the patients they were successfully removed under FBSC, whereas in 8.1% of the patients a TFB was extracted with flexible bronchoscope through endotracheal tube. Surgery was needed in only one case.


Although foreign bodies in the tracheobronchial tree are rare in adults, the clinician must be aware of their likelihood. Foreign body aspiration should be considered especially in the etiology of recurrent lung diseases and in the presence of risk factors for aspiration, in particular with different neurologic and neuromuscular diseases. They can be successfully and safely removed in the majority of patients under local anesthesia by using FBSC. In cases when repeated procedure is needed, endotracheal tube is recommended.


Flexible bronchoscopy Adults Endotracheal tube Interventional bronchoscopy 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kornelija Mise
    • 1
  • Anamarija Jurcev Savicevic
    • 2
  • Neven Pavlov
    • 3
  • Stipan Jankovic
    • 4
  1. 1.Clinical Department for Respiratory DiseasesUniversity Hospital SplitSplitCroatia
  2. 2.Public Health Institute of Split and Dalmatia CountySplitCroatia
  3. 3.Pediatric Clinic, Department for Respiratory DiseasesUniversity Hospital SplitSplitCroatia
  4. 4.Clinical Department for RadiologyUniversity Hospital SplitSplitCroatia

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