Foreign bodies in the pediatric age: the experience of an Italian tertiary care hospital

Foreign bodies in the pediatric age: the experience of an Italian tertiary care hospital


  • Gianluca Bellocchi ENT Department, San Camillo-Forlanini Hospital, Roma, Italy
  • Gilberto Acquaviva ENT Department, San Camillo-Forlanini Hospital, Roma, Italy
  • Federica Giammona Indaco ENT Department, University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Italy
  • Alberto Eibenstein ENT Department, University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Italy


foreign body, children, otorhinolaryngology


Foreign bodies in pediatric age represent an extremely frequent pathological condition and can undergo fearsome complications. Within the ENT area, foreign bodies in the pediatric age can be found in various districts such as external auditory canal, nasal passages, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx and trachea. They can be various and shape; generally, the main ones are buttons, beads, small parts of toys, caps of pens, pebbles, fragments of food bolus and others. As described in the literature, the main localizations are the external auditory canal and nasal cavities. Laryngeal and tracheal localization is infrequent but can be fatal. The aspiration of foreign bodies, mainly small parts of toys, occurs more frequently under three years age and mainly-especially in males. The experience of the ENT Department of the San Camillo-Forlanini Hospital in Rome, in the period between January 2007 and December 2018, consists a total of 1443 patients, aged between 0 and 14, who arrived in the emergency room with a foreign body diagnosis; of these, 613 (42.5%) were found with foreign body in the external auditory canal, 458 (31.7%) in nasal fossa, 298 (20.5%) in pharynx, 64 (4.4%) in oropharynx, and 10 (0.7%) in larynx and trachea. Treatment was in 1255 (87%) removal in the emergency room and home discharge, 79 (5.4%) with outpatient discharge, 40 (2.7%) need for hospitalization and surgery, 64 (4.4 %) refusal of hospitalization and 1 case (0.07%) died in the emergency room.


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How to Cite

Bellocchi G, Acquaviva G, Giammona Indaco F, Eibenstein A. Foreign bodies in the pediatric age: the experience of an Italian tertiary care hospital. Acta Biomed [Internet]. 2020 Feb. 17 [cited 2024 Jul. 16];91(1-S):60-4. Available from: