Foreign body in the tracheobronchial tree
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A 20-year experience with the treatment of 74 patients (83.8% children) for foreign body aspiration is reviewed. The object of this review is to show the clinical manifestations, the radiological findings, the nature and distribution in the bronchial tree, and complications due to longstanding (months or years) foreign bodies in the bronchial tree. The most common foreign bodies found were peanuts (13.5%), corn (13.5%), and beans (13.5%). The most frequent clinical manifestation was choking (67.5%), and the most frequent radiological finding was atelectasis (41.8%). The most serious complication was bronchiectasis needing resection in six patients who had the foreign body retained for years in the bronchial tree. In conclusion, in spite of an obvious foreign body in the tracheobronchial tree many cases are not diagnosed, and a longstanding foreign body in the airway may be responsible for irreversible complications.