Pulmonary Recovery After Rigid Bronchoscopic Retrieval of Airway Foreign Body

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The aim of this study was to determine how long postoperative pulmonary care is needed in patients after rigid bronchoscopic retrieval of foreign body from the airway and to identify the factors affecting pulmonary recovery.

Materials and Method:

A retrospective review of 98 pediatric patients who had foreign body removed from the airway by rigid bronchoscopic procedure was conducted. After the removal of the foreign body, the time required for complete clinical and radiologic pulmonary recovery was reviewed for each subject. Factors examined included age, sex, preoperative symptoms, preoperative radiologic findings, duration between the aspiration event and treatment, the type of foreign body, the location of foreign body impaction, operation time, immediate postoperative radiologic changes, and treatment outcome.


More than 1 week for the complete pulmonary recovery was required in 25 (25.5%) cases, whereas 74.5% of subjects fully recovered within 1 week after the removal of foreign body. In the univariate analysis, preoperative inflammatory symptoms, and radiologic findings, an operation time of over 50 minutes and the aggravation of immediate postoperative radiologic findings predicted a delayed pulmonary recovery (more than 1 week). In the multivariate analysis, three of four variables previously noted, except preoperative inflammatory symptoms, showed significant predictability for a delayed pulmonary recovery.


The recovery time of more than 1 week after rigid bronchoscopic retrieval of airway foreign body was associated with preoperative inflammatory findings by radiologic study, a prolonged procedure over 50 minutes, and aggravation of the immediate postoperative radiologic findings. Therefore, long-term pulmonary care is required for this group of patients.

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