Chiu et al identified factors affecting how soon a foreign body aspiration is detected in a child. Prompt diagnosis minimizes the risk for complications. The authors are from Chang-Gung University in Taoyuan, Taiwan.


Factors associated with early diagnosis:

(1) witnessed choking episode

(2) sudden onset of cough, dyspnea and/or wheezing (symptomatic)

(3) lateralizing signs

(4) prompt evaluation


Factors that may delay the diagnosis:

(1) not pursuing the diagnosis because physical and initial X-ray studies are normal

(2) pre-existing explanation for symptoms

(3) misdiagnosis as asthma, pneumonia or common cold


The presence of an unexplained persistent cough and/or refractory pulmonary infiltrates in a small child should always prompt evaluation for foreign body aspiration.


Additional factors that may contribute to delayed diagnosis:

(1) poor level of care, including negligence

(2) absence of persistent symptoms


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