Challenges in treating patients with foreign bodies in hypopharynx and esophagus: our experience in a tertiary care hospital


  • Nambiar Sapna S. Department of ENT, Government Medical College Kozhikode, Kerala, India
  • Swathilal S. A. Department of ENT, Government Medical College Kozhikode, Kerala, India
  • Sunilkumar K. P. Department of ENT, Government Medical College Kozhikode, Kerala, India
  • Soumya Aravind M. V. Department of ENT, Government Medical College Kozhikode, Kerala, India



Foreign body (FB), Hypopharynx and esophagus, Rigid endoscopy


Background: Foreign bodies (FBs) of the hypopharynx and esophagus are among the common otolaryngologic emergencies. Every new case poses a clinical challenge with need for optimal treatment strategy. The objective of our study is to highlight a few of the challenges faced while treating these patients.

Methods:  A prospective study was done on all patients who reported to the ENT casualty, Government Medical College Kozhikode with history or suspicion of foreign body throat from January 2020 to January 2021. A total of 160 patients reported of which 48 (30%) patients required further evaluation with rigid endoscopy and foreign body removal in the operative room. A few challenges like migration of foreign bodies, dilemma in diagnosis with FB mimicking ossified cartilages on X-ray, FB removal in mentally challenged patients and treatment of esophageal perforation post rigid endoscopy are discussed.

Results: Only 48 (30%) patients of the total 160 patients required rigid endoscopy and foreign body removal in the operating room. The foreign body was obtained in 42 (87.5%) patients while 6 (12.5%) patients improved post rigid endoscopy though foreign body was not obtained. One patient with denture in the esophagus developed esophageal perforation requiring prolonged hospital stay.

Conclusions: A high index of suspicion among patients presenting with dysphagia, neck pain and sudden decrease in food intake is warranted. Early diagnosis with appropriate imaging modalities is essential for confirmation of diagnosis. Dentures are among FBs that necessitate more caution. Esophageal perforation, a rare but life-threatening complication must be diagnosed timely with appropriate surgical intervention.


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Original Research Articles