Foreign body ingestions in children: Risk of complication varies with site of initial health care contact

R. I. Paul*, K. K. Christoffel, H. J. Binns, D. M. Jaffe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Current recommendations for the management of pediatric foreign body ingestions are based on studies of patients cared for at tertiary care hospitals; they call for aggressive evaluation because of a high incidence of complications. Two hundred forty-four children with suspected foreign body ingestions were prospectively followed to analyze adverse outcomes, ie, procedures, complications, and hospitalizations. Patient enrollment into the study was from three sources: (1) patients who referred themselves to a tertiary pediatric emergency department, (2) patients referred to the same tertiary pediatric emergency department after an initial evaluation by another hospital or physician, and (3) patients who reported their foreign body ingestions to a private pediatric practitioner participating in the study. Most children were well toddlers in normal circumstances, under parent supervision at the time of ingestion. Coins were the most common item ingested (46%). Procedures were done in 53 (24%) of 221 patients and complications occurred in 48 (22%) of 221. Complications were higher in patients referred to the emergency department (63%) than in emergency department self-referred patients (13%) or private practice patients (7%) (χ2, P < .01). These findings demonstrate the risk of drawing conclusions regarding a universal standard of care from studies involving only hospital- based patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-127
Number of pages7
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993


  • coin
  • foreign body
  • ingestion
  • standard of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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