• Vol. 35 No. 1, 49–53
  • 15 January 2006

Swallowed Foreign Bodies in Children: Report of Four Unusual Cases



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Introduction: Although a majority of ingested foreign bodies (FBs) pass down the gastrointestinal tract spontaneously, those that are sharp, pointed or large in size need removal to avert serious complications. We highlight the urgent need and utility of endoscopic accessories and technical artistry in safe retrieval of FBs in children.

Clinical Picture: Four children had accidentally swallowed a nail, metallic dumbbell, open safety pin and a cushion pin respectively. They were symptom-free and the abdominal plain radiographs revealed foreign body in the stomach in all the cases.

Treatment: Oesophago-gastro-duodenoscopy (OGD) was done in all the patients and could retrieve the nail, metallic dumbbell and open safety pin successfully using a Dormia basket, a polypectomy snare and a pair of rat-tooth forceps respectively. The cushion pin had migrated to the duodeno-jejunal junction within 4 hours of ingestion and necessitated open duodenotomy and retrieval.

Outcome: All patients did well after the procedure with no complications.

Conclusions: Swallowed FBs with pointed or sharp ends or large enough to cross the pylorus and duodenal sweep need removal and in the majority of the cases they can be retrieved by OGD. Sharp or pointed FBs that have crossed the second part of the duodenum necessitate urgent laparotomy for retrieval to prevent complications.

Foreign body (FB) ingestion in children is a frequent and frightening experience to the patients and caregivers. It is a common paediatric problem necessitating occasional immediate intervention to avoid serious complications.

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