Foreign Body Aspiration in Infants and Older Children: A Comparative Study

Shorook Na’ara, Igor Vainer, Moran Amit, Arie Gordin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: Foreign body aspiration (FBA) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in children. It is a preventable event that predominates in preschool age. The signs and symptoms mimic respiratory diseases common in the same age-group. We compared FBA in infants to FBA in older children. Methods: Retrospective analysis of all the cases of suspected FBA of children under the age of 18 years hospitalized at one medical center during 2002 to 2016. We analyzed the data according to age: up to 1 year (infants) and 1 to 18 years. Results: One hundred seventy-five children with suspected FBA were admitted; of whom, 27 (15%) were infants and 148 (85%) were older children (age 1-18 years). For the 2 age groups, adults witnessed 85% and 73%, respectively, of the incidents (P =.4). In the neonate group, 48% presented with normal X-ray findings compared to only 20% in the older group; 15% of the older group had a positive chest X-ray for a foreign body, while none had such in the infants’ group (P =.01). For the 2 age groups, the majority of the FBs found were from organic origin. About half of the patients were diagnosed and managed within 24 hours of the aspiration event. In 10%, repeated bronchoscopy was performed due to a retained FB remnant. In a multivariate analysis, signs and symptoms (P <.05), location of the FB (P <.001), and witnessed aspiration (P <.001) were independent prognostic factors for the length of hospitalization. Conclusion: Foreign body aspiration is not uncommon in young infants; the management is challenging due to small airways, the need to use smaller bronchoscopes, and the lack of working channel forces in pediatric bronchoscopes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-51
Number of pages5
JournalEar, Nose and Throat Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • aspiration
  • bronchoscopy
  • foreign body
  • infants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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