Aspiration foreign body

Wheaton family dental practice

Aspiration foreign body

Common early signs of foreign body inhalation include
  • coughing
  • choking
  • inspiratory stridor (high pitched wheezing)
  • paradoxical breathing (chest movements opposite of normal)
  • decreased oxygen saturation
  • cyanosis

Early complications can lead to cardiac arrest and laryngeal edema. Long term retention of a foreign body in the lung can lead to vocal cord paralysis, pneumonia, pneumothorax and death.

The key to managing aspiration is of course prevention, but in the emergent situation, the patient should be quickly put into the reverse Trendelenburg position (sit up)and encouraged to cough. If coughing fails to relieve the obstruction, then back slaps and abdominal thrusts must be performed.

If something is believed to have been swallowed due to lack of symptoms that patient must be followed up with and a chest xray taken to confirm item was in fact swallowed.

Bryan Bauer, DDS, FAGD