• cross-cultural epidemiology;
  • nasal foreign bodies;
  • perforation;
  • septal necrosis


Objective:  The aim of the present paper is to present nasal foreign cases observed at the Children's Hospital Gutierrez in Buenos Aires, Argentina, over a 4-year period and to compare the main findings with data from other case series.

Methods:  A prospective study was undertaken on children having inhaled/aspired a foreign body (FB), with regard to age and sex distribution, FB type, dimensions and consistency, FB location, clinical presentation, removal and occurrence of complications.

Results:  A total of 1559 cases of foreign body inhalation were observed. The mean age of the children was 3.48 years (SD 1.60). Injuries frequently occurred during recreational activities: in 1154 cases (74.1%) the child was playing, while in 52 cases the accident occurred during a party. In 1417 cases (90.9%) adults were present. Children frequently (1123 cases) insert small objects with a rigid consistency in their noses, like pearls or little metal objects. In the majority of cases nasal FB injuries are due to insertion of inorganic objects (72.7%).

Conclusion:  Injuries are frequently due to the incorrect manipulation of objects not conceived for children use, including pins, nails, screws and floats. Batteries and magnets deserve particular mention because they require immediate treatment, as they can cause septal necrosis and perforation within hours. Unfortunately, an adult being present does not seem to be sufficient to prevent injuries, and parents are frequently unaware of the danger. The dissemination of information regarding safe behaviors could be fundamental in preventing injuries and need to be promoted by family pediatricians and health practitioners.