Diagnosis and endoscopic management of upper gastrointestinal foreign bodies

Yu Hui Chiu, Sen Kuang Hou, Sau Chin Chen, Chorng Kuang How, Carlos Lam, Wei Fong Kao, David Hung Tsang Yen, Mu Shun Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: The objective is to evaluate the diagnosis of foreign body (FB) ingestion and report on the endoscopic management in Taiwan. Methods: This retrospective study enrolled 159 adult patients with confirmed diagnosis of upper gastrointestinal FBs who received endoscopic management in the emergency department. Results: The patients' mean age was 57.0 ± 19.2 years, and 66 (37.7%) of the patients were 65 years or older. Majority had a clear history and symptoms of FB ingestion. However, 9 (5.7%) initially ignored the accidental swallowing of FBs and were diagnosed late. The mean time spent for diagnosis was 1.8 days in those with uncertain history. Only 47.1% of those with radiographic studies had positive findings. Fish bones, press-through package and dentures were the most common culprits in this population of Asian elderly. Majority of FBs were located in the esophagus, especially in the upper third. Endoscopic FB extraction was successful in 96.9% of cases, while surgery was required in only 5 patients. The complication rate was 6.9%, including mucosal laceration (n = 10) and suspected perforation (n = 1), all of which were successfully managed conservatively. There was no death due to FB ingestion or endoscopy. Conclusions: In FB ingestion, history usually points toward the diagnosis. Patients with an uncertain history are usually diagnosed late, and plain radiography cannot reliably predict the presence of FB. Endoscopic management is safe and effective for FBs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-195
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of the Medical Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • Emergency department
  • Endoscopy
  • Foreign body
  • Upper gastrointestinal tract

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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