Swallowed Foreign Object
Immediate symptoms of swallowed foreign objects
- Pain in the esophagus or chest
- Difficulty swallowing
A few hours later, the following symptoms may develop:
- Pain in the stomach
- Blood in the stool
- Fever (if the object is trapped in the lower intestines)
Who Often Swallows Foreign Objects?
Small children, as well as adults suffering from drugs and alcohol
abuse, those with stroke, psychiatric and neurological illnesses
are prone to swallowing foreign objects. Surprisingly, denture
wearers are also susceptible to accidentally swallowing bones
and other items. This is because dentures eliminate much of the
feeling or tactile sensation in the mouth.
How Can It Be Prevented?
For small children, care should be done to remove objects smaller
than a quarter, and put away household chemicals and cleansers,
as well as breakables.
Denture wearers need to be aware of the danger of accidentally
swallowing small bones, toothpicks, and other small items.
What Are Its Treatments?
If the swallowed foreign object blocks the airways, emergency
care such as a Heimlich maneuver needs to be immediately performed.
In about 80% of the cases, the foreign object passes through
without any intervention. In the 20% of the cases, the object
has to be removed with an endoscopic procedure. In less than 1%,
surgery is required.
Small batteries are increasingly becoming a choking and accidental-swallowing
hazard, especially for small children. Batteries need to be immediately
removed, as they can corrode and release caustic chemicals that
can injure the esophagus and stomach. Children that swallowed
battery need to be taken to the emergency room immediately.