Radiologic Management Of Impacted Coin In The Oesophagus – A Case Report

  • IJ Okoye Department of Radiology, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu
  • AOC Imo Department of Radiology, Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital Abakiliki Ebonyi State
  • V Okwulehie Department of Surgery, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu
Keywords: Foreign body, odynophagia, stridor, fluoroscopic-guidance, retrieval


The incidence of swallowed foreign body is high in children and young adults 1. The common age of occurrence is below 10 years of age 2,3. It is a well known paediatric emergency often requiring urgent oesophagoscopy. Majority of swallowed foreign bodies (FBs) are impacted at sites known conventionally as constrictions4. The commonest FB swallowed by children is coins; by adults – bones, fish bones and large bolus of meat, and in the older age group - dentures.
The most common presenting symptoms are drooling of saliva, dysphagia and odynophagia. The anatomic proximity of the upper airway and oesophagus permit the development of respiratory symptoms like cough and stridor. Long standing foreign body impaction with weight loss, consolidated lungs and failure to thrive are documented presentations of FB in the oesophagus5.
We present a case of a 20 year old male who inadvertently swallowed a coin which got impacted at the thoracic inlet – one of the conventional areas of constriction. He presented late with cough, stridor, odynophagia and weight loss. The presentation of weight loss that could arise from unduely prolonged odynophagia rather than from complications like fistula, empyema thoracis or ominous predisposing lesions like malignancy was noted. The case highlighted the oddity of an adult swallowing a coin, its impaction in the oesophagus of an apparently healthy adult and the non-surgical retrieval of the FB by fluoroscopic guidance.

Key Words: Foreign body, odynophagia, stridor, fluoroscopic-guidance, retrieval

Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice Vol 8(1) 2005: 56-59

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eISSN: 1119-3077