A study from members of the Gastroenterology Department at the A. Cadarelli Hospital in Naples, Italy, has reported the outcomes of 414 patients admitted for suspected ingestion of foreign bodies between May 1995 and December 1999.
Radiography of the neck, chest, or abdomen in the case of radiopaque objects and also computed tomography (CT), where perforation was a possibility, were performed on all patients.
An endoscopic procedure was conducted within 6 hours of admission, using a flexible scope and a wide range of endoscopic devices.
|Main types of foreign body:|
- Food boluses
- Dental prostheses
- Fish bones
Procedures were conducted under either conscious sedation (87%), or general anesthesia in the case of poor patient tolerance (13%).
Foreign bodies were identified in 65% of patients in the study, and were most commonly found trapped in the esophagus.
The types of foreign body were mainly food boluses, bones or cartilage, dental prostheses, or fish bones.
In 3 patients (1%), further surgical procedures were required to remove the obstruction, as it was impossible to do so endoscopically. In all these cases the foreign body was located in the cervical esophagus.
No complications were observed relating to the endoscopic procedure, but 31% of patients had underlying esophageal disease, such as a stricture.
The report concludes that the endoscopic procedure is a successful technique for the removal of the foreign bodies. In almost all cases there are no significant complications and surgery is rarely required.