February 14, 2019
1 min read

Heart-shaped pendant lodged in 3-year-old’s throat

You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact customerservice@slackinc.com.

Writing in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers described a young child who presented to an ED after ingesting a gold heart-shaped pendant. Although the child was asymptomatic, X-rays clearly show the object lodged in the girl’s proximal thoracic esophagus.

Shelby Leuin, MD, a pediatric otolaryngologist at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, and Jason Handweker, MD, an associate professor of radiology at the University of California, San Diego, wrote that the child, a 3-year-old female, had not vomited and was not experiencing chest pain.

To remove the pendant from the esophagus, she underwent a rigid endoscopy. The researchers observed minor abrasions of the esophageal mucosa. The child fully recovered after the endoscopy and was discharged.

Photo of X-ray with foreign body in esophagus 
Source: The New England Journal of Medicine ©2019.

“Ingestions of foreign bodies are most commonly reported in children aged 1 to 3 years,” they wrote. “Ingested items that warrant immediate endoscopic removal from the esophagus include sharp objects, button batteries and foreign bodies that have been present for longer than 24 hours.”

However, the researchers said children who are asymptomatic and have ingested items that do not have dangerous features may be observed until the item has spontaneously passed through the body. – by Katherine Bortz

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.