Doctors remove objects stuck in bronchial tubes of infants

“I have never encountered such a young patient with this problem,” Dr. Arye Gordin, head of otolaryngology at Rambam says.

June 12, 2012 06:29
1 minute read.
Walnut removed from bay's throat

Walnut removed from bay's throat 370. (photo credit: Rambam Medical Center)


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Two babies aged only five and eight months old, respectively, had to undergo treatment at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa after they swallowed foreign objects – a piece of walnut and a fruit pit.

Such incidents of ingesting foreign objects are very rare in children so young.

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At the beginning of last week, the five-month-old from the North was referred from another hospital to Rambam with a piece of a pit in the left bronchial tube leading to the lungs. He underwent a brochoscopy, but to get the seed out, minuscule devices were needed to remove it from such a small baby. As such equipment was lacking in the first hospital, he was sent to Rambam.

The baby was initially found by the first hospital to suffer from fever and an incessant cough, as if he had an upper-respiratory- tract infection; no one thought it was a foreign object.

“I have never encountered such a young patient with this problem,” said Dr. Arye Gordin, head of otolaryngology at Rambam.

Using general anesthesia, the doctors gently pushed a broncoscope only four millimeters in diameter and inserted a tiny pair of tweezers to pull the seed out.

In 20 minutes, it was removed.

“The smaller the child, the tinier the equipment must be, so it is very difficult,” said Gordin.

A few days later, Rambam staffers admitted an eight-month-old boy who swallowed a nut with a piece of cake he was served. This time, it entered his right bronchial tube. Using the same technique and equipment, Goldin and colleagues removed it.

“Both children are in good condition and have been discharged. It is quite rare for the ingestion of a foreign object reaching the lungs in a child under 18 months. Infants should not be exposed to hard food. Parents must be careful not to give them such inappropriate things to eat,” Goldin added.

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