Preliminary experience in the management of tracheobronchial foreign bodies in Lagos, Nigeria
Aspiration of tracheobronchial foreign bodies commonly affects young children, is potentially life threatening and requires early intervention for extraction. Access to facilities and skill manpower for bronchoscopic extraction is however limited in Nigeria. The aim of this study is to describe the experience in our institution with bronchoscopic removal of tracheobronchial foreign bodies and highlight the challenges encountered. This is a retrospective study of all patients referred to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital with a diagnosis of tracheobronchial foreign body within the period of February 2008 and February 2013. Data extracted from the medical records were age, sex, time interval between aspiration and presentation, location of tracheobronchial foreign body, bronchoscopic technique, complications and outcome. A total of 24 patients were referred and confirmed at bronchoscopy to have tracheobronchial foreign bodies. Mean age was 6.6 + 5 years. Male to female ratio was 1:1. Delayed presentation was common with 22 patients (91.7%) presenting more than 24 hours after aspiration. Aspirated material was inorganic in 17 patients (70.8%) and organic in 7 patients (29.2%). Location of tracheobronchial foreign bodies was right main bronchus in 16 patients (66.7%), left main bronchus in 6 patients (25%) and the trachea in 2 patients (8.3%). Challenges to speedy and safe removal of the foreign bodies were delayed presentation and a limited range of bronchoscopic equipment early in the series which caused prolonged procedures and increased complications. Two mortalities occurred early in the series; one from airway obstruction and the other from respiratory failure caused by tracheobronchial oedema. Extraction of tracheobronchial foreign bodies was faster, more complete and safer later in the series due to a wider range of bronchoscopy equipment which included both flexible and rigid videobronchoscopy with the use of optical forceps. This preliminary experience suggests that an adequate armamentarium of bronchoscopy equipment is required to increase the chances of complete extraction, speed up the procedure and reduce the risk of complications of Tracheobronchial Foreign Bodies in our environment. Delayed presentation increases the difficulty of the procedure so earlier referral of these patients would help reduce the risk involved in their management.
Key words: Bronchoscopy, Tracheobronchial Foreign Bodies, Lagos, Nigeria