Analysis of ingested foreign bodies according to age, type and location: a retrospective observational study

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This study aimed to analyse the types and locations of ingested foreign bodies according to different age groups, from infants to the elderly.


A retrospective chart review.


Tertiary referral centre.


A total of 4682 patients who ingested foreign bodies from January 2006 through February 2014.


The frequencies of foreign bodies were investigated in each age group. The types of foreign bodies were categorised into fish bones, chicken bones, seafood, tablets, food, metal, batteries, glass, teeth, plastics and others. The anatomic locations of the objects were classified as the oral cavity, tongue base, tonsils, oropharynx, hypopharynx, oesophagus, stomach and colon. The types, locations and origins of the foreign bodies were analysed according to the age groups.


The frequency of foreign body ingestion was high in patients up to 14 years of age, after which the risk of foreign body ingestion markedly decreased. Fish bones were the most commonly suspected foreign bodies in all of the age groups. However, non-food-type foreign bodies were more common in both the young and elderly groups. The tonsils were the most common anatomic site of foreign body impaction except in the group of patients older than 65 years. The stomach and oesophagus were also common locations of foreign bodies in the groups of patients younger than 10 years (10.5%) and older than 65 years (39.4%).


The frequency of foreign body ingestion was highest in young children. However, we observed specific age-based characteristics that indicate specific precautions to take to avoid foreign body ingestion.

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