Update in the extraction of airway foreign bodies in adults

Montserrat Blanco Ramos, Maribel Botana-Rial, Eva García-Fontán, Alberto Fernández-Villar, Mercedes Gallas Torreira


Foreign body (FB) aspiration into the airway is lees common in adults than children. Nevertheless its incidence does not decrease through time. We present clinical relevant aspects of airway FBs on the basis of a selective review of pertinent literature retrieved by a search in the PubMed database. The most common aspirated FBs by adults are organics, especially fragments of bones and seeds. Symptoms usually are cough, chocking and dyspnea. Right localization, especially bronchus intermedius and right lower lobe, is more frequent. Chest radiography can be normal in up to 20% of the cases and FBs can be detected in 26% of the patients. FBs can safely remove in the majority of patients under flexible bronchoscopy. Surgical treatment must be reserved for cases in which bronchoscope fails or there are irreversible bronchial or lung complications.