George Washington UniversityThis news seems to deal with foreign particles obstructing the airways of young children. The study claims that although the instances of foreign objects blocking the airways of small children happen occasionally but the death rate from such events could be elevated.

The objective and ingestion of foreign bodies seem to offer a possible deadly risk to infants and children. This detail was provided as background information.

The authors commented, “Approximately 2.5 million children across the United States are affected by foreign body aspirations each year, with up to 2,000 deaths. Most of these children are younger than 3 years and are at higher risk of inhaling or ingesting foreign bodies owing to their tendency to place objects in their mouths, poor swallowing coordination and immature dentition, or tooth development.”

Data from a national database of children’s hospitalizations in 2003 was said to be evaluated by study authors like Rahul K. Shah, M.D., and Sukgi S. Choi, M.D., of Children’s National Medical Center and the George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C., and colleagues. They supposedly wanted to check national trends in the management of foreign particles wedged in the airway and esophagus of pediatric patients.

Of the 2,984,129 pediatric patients discharged from 3,438 hospitals that year, around 2,771 had to hospitalized for airway obstruction due to a foreign body. Apparently, the average age of these patients was said to be 3.5 years, with 55 percent younger than 2 years. Around 42 percent of the foreign bodies were believed to be sorted as food.

The patients seemingly remained in the hospital for an average of roughly 6.4 days and went through an average of around 2.4 procedures. Nearly three-fourths i.e. 71 percent of children were thought to be treated at teaching hospitals. A sum of 3.4 percent of these children apparently expired in the hospital, with an average stay of 11.7 days and a supposed average of 6.2 procedures.

The authors remarked, “These patients experienced longer lengths of stay and more procedures, which is intuitive, as their cases were likely more complex. It is plausible to conclude that these cases were the most severe and acute cases. A higher proportion of patients in this population were referred to teaching hospitals, suggesting a possible selection bias of critical cases to these institutions for specialized care.”

The declining amount of these cases may avert new clinicians from learning to treat them efficiently. The authors noted that alternative education measures should be considered to train physicians in the management of this infrequent, potentially lethal condition. These may encompass surgical simulation.

The study was published in the Archives of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.