Specialists at Schneider Children’s removed an earring from the esophagus of an 8-month-old infant. The parents noted that during the week prior to his hospitalization, the child suffered from a persistent cough, had difficulty eating and had fever. He was examined by a number of doctors who were unable to determine the problem as they were unaware that he couldn’t swallow. The infant was referred to Schneider Children’s by the community physician after a chest x-ray revealed a foreign body stuck in his throat.
Schneider Children’s is skilled in removing foreign bodies that have been swallowed by children, but usually this involves extracting it shortly after the event. The procedure was challenging as the earring clip was lodged in the wall of the esophagus facing upwards and required a delicate maneuver to extract it without damaging the tissues and causing infection. The presence of the earring in the esophagus for over a week led to irritation and swelling of the tissues which further complicated the procedure.
Dr. Ohad Hilly, senior physician in the ENT Unit, together with Dr. Uri Elkan, located the foreign body and removed it from the infant’s esophagus with a forceps under a delicate endoscopic procedure. After the infant recovered from the anesthesia, he was hospitalized in the Department of Surgery for further observation.
As Dr. Hilly noted, “We are aware that infants are prone to insert foreign bodies into their mouths. This is especially dangerous when they start to move around. Foreign bodies can become stuck in the throat or other areas in the digestive system, such as the airway passages and the lungs. This case underscores how important it is for parents and the medical team to be aware of the possibility of a swallowed foreign body. Firstly, it is important to prevent such cases from occurring and to move away small items from infants and small children. Secondly, awareness of typical signs such as persistent coughing, shortness of breath, lack of appetite or vomiting, will avoid a delay in diagnosis and treatment. In this case, we were pleased that the earring was removed safely without any damage.”