Background: Management of the child who has swallowed a foreign body should be guided by the risk of complication. Objective of the Review: This review discusses the patient and foreign body characteristics most likely to be associated with complications. Discussion: Most swallowed foreign bodies will pass through the GI tract without complication. Children with pre-existing GI tract abnormalities of any sort, or those who swallow higher-risk foreign bodies, are at higher risk. Higher-risk foreign bodies include long, sharp, or pointed objects, button batteries, and small magnets. Nearly any child who presents to an Emergency Department or other acute care setting after foreign body ingestion should undergo plain radiography; other forms of imaging may also be appropriate. Primary care providers may opt for an initial observation period when there is lower risk of complication. Esophageal button batteries should be emergently removed; other esophageal objects should be promptly removed or, if low risk, allowed a brief period to pass spontaneously. Most lower GI tract foreign bodies will pass spontaneously. Prevention, while not always possible, is preferable to management of foreign body ingestion. Conclusions: Management strategies for children who have swallowed foreign bodies can be optimized by considering relevant patient and foreign body factors, and how they contribute to the risk of complication.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.