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Ingested gastrointestinal foreign bodies: predisposing factors for complications in children having surgical or endoscopic removal


A retrospective study was performed to determine the predisposing factors associated with the complications of ingested gastrointestinal (GI) tract foreign bodies (FBs) in children who had surgical or endoscopic removal. The study was performed in 161 children who had endoscopic or surgical removal. The clinical data were evaluated in two groups. In groups I and II, respectively, 135 patients with no complications and 26 patients with complications were analyzed. The relative risk analysis was performed for the risk factors. The number of the patients with an accurate history and the radiopaque FBs was significantly higher in group I. Metal, especially sharp objects, and food plugs obstructing a diseased esophagus were the most common FBs found in group II. The majority of the FBs of both groups were entrapped in esophagus, the number of the FBs distal to esophagus was significantly higher and duration of lodgment was significantly longer in group II. Esophageal abrasion, laceration and bleeding, complete esophageal obstruction, caustic injury, severe esophageal stricture, laryngeal edema, recurrent aspiration pneumonia, loss of weight, intestinal perforation, constipation and intestinal obstruction were determined as complications. The relative risk was >1 for duration of lodgment more than 24 h, for sharp or pointed objects, button batteries, nonopaque objects, diseased esophagus and for the objects located below the upper third of esophagus. Type, radiopacity, location and duration of the ingested GI tract FB determine the outcome. A delayed diagnosis is the most significant factor increasing the risk of complications. Physician must maintain a high index of suspicion and a more extensive history; physical examination and radiodiagnostic investigation should be obtained in suspected cases.

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Correspondence to Baran Tokar.

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Tokar, B., Cevik, A.A. & Ilhan, H. Ingested gastrointestinal foreign bodies: predisposing factors for complications in children having surgical or endoscopic removal. Pediatr Surg Int 23, 135–139 (2007).

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  • Foreign body
  • Ingestion
  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • Complication
  • Children