Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Gastrointestinal Foreign Body Overview

Another name for Gastrointestinal Foreign Body is Swallowed Foreign Body.

What is a swallowed foreign body?
A person with a swallowed foreign body has swallowed an object. The object may be stuck in the esophagus, or the object may have reached the stomach. About 80 percent of reported cases of a swallowed foreign body occur in children.

What are the symptoms of a swallowed foreign body?
The most common symptom of a swallowed foreign body is the sensation that something is stuck in the esophagus. Additional symptoms of a swallowed foreign body include difficulty swallowing, drooling, gagging, vomiting, sore throat, chest pain.

How does the doctor treat a swallowed foreign body?
Most swallowed foreign bodies pass through the esophagus, stomach, and intestines without treatment. Treatment for a swallowed foreign body may include waiting for the object to pass, or using a flexible fiberoptic scope to remove the object. Occasionally, surgery is required to remove the object.

Continue to Gastrointestinal Foreign Body Incidence

Last Updated: Aug 23, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Gastrointestinal Foreign Body References
  1. Cheng W, Tam PK. Foreign-body ingestion in children: experience with 1,265 cases. J Pediatr Surg. 1999 Oct;34(10):1472-6. [10549750]
  2. Macgregor D, Ferguson J. Foreign body ingestion in children: an audit of transit time. J Accid Emerg Med. 1998 Nov;15(6):371-3. [9825273]
  3. Uyemura MC. Foreign body ingestion in children. Am Fam Physician. 2005 Jul 15;72(2):287-91. Review. Summary for patients in: Am Fam Physician. 2005 Jul 15;72(2):292. [16050452]
  4. Wai Pak M, Chung Lee W, Kwok Fung H, van Hasselt CA. A prospective study of foreign-body ingestion in 311 children. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2001 Apr 6;58(1):37-45. [11249978]
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