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Archivos de Pediatría del Uruguay

Print version ISSN 0004-0584On-line version ISSN 1688-1249


DE LEONARDIS, Daniel et al. Foreign body aspiration in the Emergency Unit at the pediatrics hospital: Handling of ten cases and update. Arch. Pediatr. Urug. [online]. 2016, vol.87, n.2, pp.99-107. ISSN 0004-0584.

Introduction: foreign-body aspiration is a preventable cause of morbidity and mortality in childhood, especially in children under 3 years old. Diagnosis may be difficult and it may be delayed when no adult witnesses the choking episode. Objective: to learn about clinical and imaging characteristics of patients who, upon arrival at DEP are primarily diagnosed with airway obstruction by foreign body and to provide an update on this condition. Methodology: descriptive, observational and retrospective study of clinical histories of 10 children admitted to the DEP of the Emergency Unit diagnosed with airway obstruction by foreign body between 01/01/2010 and 12/31/2013. Age, sex, time of the accident, origin, location, social environment, adult presence, physical examination, imaging, nature of the foreign body, anatomical location, manoeuvres practiced, first aid, time until their expulsion / removal, complications and patient destination were analysed. Results: seven out of ten children were male; ages 6 months and 13 years; nine in Montevideo and the metropolitan area. When the episodes were witnessed by adults, consultations took place within 24 hours. In seven cases organic material was the reason of choking (meat, fruit, seeds) during meals (lunch, dinner), and in three cases obstruction resulted from non-organic, radiopaque material. Nine children were at home and one in the school. The first assistance in six cases consisted in manoeuvres by relatives (sweeping the mouth with a finger) or health staff (Heimlich) being this ineffective. In eight cases the physical examination findings confirmed diagnosis. Radiology showed the foreign body or indirect signs. Spontaneous elimination happened twice; two were extracted in the Pediatrics Emergency Unit and six by rigid bronchoscopy under general anesthesia, right source bronchus in four and left main bronchus in two. No complications occurred and all patients were discharged. Comentary: low incidence pathology. Bimodal distribution with peaks at eight months and eight years old, at home and predominantly organic material. High participation of adults without low childcare habits who came from low income sectors may have influenced the episodes. The subsequent confirmation asphyxia syndrome with suction occurred in 9 cases. Physical examination and imaging were useful. Manoeuvres to unblock the airway were ineffective. Surgical extraction in the OR with rigid bronchoscope continues to be the prevailing action. No immediate morbidity and mortality was recorded after the episode. We must insist on the dissemination of preventive measures among parents and caregivers.


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