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A clinico-pathologic analysis of children with foreign bodies in the larynx in nnewi, south-east Nigeria

EAE Afiadigwe
BC Ezeanolue
CC Nwaigbo


Objective: To share our experience with laryngeal foreign bodies in this evolving ENT unit over the past four years. To highlight the mode of clinical presentation of children with foreign bodies in the larynx and the nature of the foreign bodies encountered in our environment. To make case for high index of suspicion and prompt referral.
Methodology: This was a descriptive analysis of all patients diagnosed and treated for foreign body in the larynx in our centre between May 2007 and April 2011.The medical records of the patients treated for this condition and the unit’s operating register were analyzed retrospectively.
Results: A total of sixteen (16) patients were seen with laryngeal foreign bodies over the period comprising thirteen males and three females M:F (4.3:1). Ten of the patients (87.5%) were 3 years or below, non was above 6 years. Less than half of the patients (44%) presented within the first 24 hours. Two actually presented after two months. Food items constituted (75%) of foreign bodies inhaled while the rest were various forms of non food items. Fish bones were the majority among the food items. It accounted for 58.3% of the food items and 44% of the entire foreign bodies in our series. Most of the patients presented with the triad of breathlessness, cough and hoarseness.
Conclusion: A foreign body in the larynx is not an uncommon childhood condition. A high index of suspicion is advocated to encourage early referral and prompt treatment to avoid complications which could be very fatal.

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eISSN: 1119-0388