Esophageal foreign body: Causes, description, Treatment

Throat | Otorhinolaryngology | Esophageal foreign body (Disease)

Esophageal foreign body: Description

Foreign bodies occur when food particles become lodged in the esophagus preventing food or liquids from passing. The esophagus is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. Symptoms may include the inability to swallow saliva and other liquids, inability to swallow solids, vomiting.

Causes and Risk factors

The most common causes are congenital webs, strictures, inflammation from gastroesophageal reflux, and cancer.

Esophageal foreign body: Treatment and Diagnosis

Prompt treatment of an infant or child with a suspected esophageal foreign body is crucial because of the potential for severe complications. Radiographic evaluation of the esophageal foreign body is warranted in symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. Ingestions that are witnessed are generally managed without problems. Conversely, diagnosis of nonwitnessed ingestions can often be difficult and delayed.

This delay in diagnosis can result in severe morbidity and mortality.

The major limitation of the initial plain radiographic evaluation is the potential failure to visualize the nonradiopaque foreign body. Small esophageal foreign bodies may also be difficult to visualize on plain radiographs alone. Additional evaluation is required when the suspected foreign body is not radiopaque or when the presence of a retained object is highly suspected. The initial radiographic evaluation also can cause underestimation of the extent or degree of involvement, such as the amount of edema with foreign bodies that are retained for long periods

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