Esophageal foreign bodies: Types and techniques for removal

Opinion statement

Patients with esophageal foreign bodies require prompt diagnosis and therapy. The first tasks are to determine the type of object, time since ingestion, location of the object, and the likelihood of associated complications. Patients who have evidence of complete esophageal occlusion or who have ingested a sharp or pointed object require urgent treatment due to the increased risk of complications. Button batteries are particularly injurious in the esophagus and should be removed immediately. Coins in the esophagus should also be removed; however, a brief period of observation is appropriate for coins in the distal esophagus, as some will pass spontaneously. Flexible endoscopy is the therapeutic modality of choice for most patients. The key principles for endoscopic management of esophageal foreign bodies are to protect the airway, to maintain control of the object during extraction, and to avoid causing additional damage. Endotracheal intubation is sometimes necessary, especially in younger children and those at higher risk for aspiration. The use of devices such as an esophageal overtube and a latex protector hood may facilitate safer extraction of sharp/pointed objects. Patients with food impactions usually require treatment of an associated structural lesion of the esophagus.

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Smith, M.T., Wong, R.K.H. Esophageal foreign bodies: Types and techniques for removal. Curr Treat Options Gastro 9, 75–84 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11938-006-0026-3

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Keywords

  • Foreign Body
  • Esophageal Perforation
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis
  • Food Bolus
  • Food Impaction