Original Article

Emergency Department Experience of Foreign Body Ingestion: An Analysis of 69 Cases in an Academic Hospital in Saudi Arabia


  • Jameel Talal Abualenain
  • Hani Akram Jawa
  • Yagoub Yahya Bintaleb
  • Mahdi Mohammed Abulkalam
  • Mohammed Abdullah Aldini
  • Abdulrahman Khaled Dafterdar
  • Nawaf Turki Ashgan

Received Date: 27.12.2017 Accepted Date: 29.01.2018 Eurasian J Emerg Med 2018;17(1):3-8


Foreign body (FB) ingestions represent a challenging clinical problem in the emergency departments (EDs), and 20% of cases undergo an endoscopy. We aimed to report our experience with FB ingestion based on age, sex, type of FB material, comorbidities, and intervention in ED of King Abdulaziz University hospital where an emergency endoscopic service is available.

Materials and Methods:

This was a retrospective descriptive study of patients who presented to ED with FB ingestion over a 4-year period (January 2013 to December 2017) and who were managed by either an upper endoscopy or laparotomy.


A total of 130 patients presented with FB to ED; we included 69 patients (53%) who were treated using either endoscopy or laparotomy. The majority of patients had ingested a single FB (97%), with children representing 83% of the patients. The most common age group of FB ingestion was 0–4 years, with a male predominance (57%). The most common type of FB material was metallic in the pediatric patients and food in the adult patients; 45% of the patients were symptomatic. Comorbidities were present only in 13% of the patients. X-ray was performed in 87% of the patients, whereas computed tomography was performed only in 7%. The esophagus (75%) and stomach (13%) were the most common anatomical locations for FB. Upper endoscopy was the most common procedure performed (93%), and it was almost successful in all patients at the first attempt (96%).


FB ingestion is common in children, and approximately half of the patients underwent an emergency endoscopy. The availability of such a service is invaluable in the management of FB ingestion given its high success rate and low complications.

Keywords: Foreign body, ingestion, emergency, endoscopy