• foreign bodies;
  • paediatric hospital;
  • otorhinolaryngologic disease;
  • ingestion;
  • inhalation


Ear, nose and throat (ENT) foreign body (FB) injuries represent an emerging problem in the paediatric population because of their human and social costs. The aim of the study is the site-specific evaluation of FB injuries in the paediatric population referred to the emergency department of the Pediatric Hospital of Turin.


This retrospective analysis was carried out sifting medical reports between 2002 and 2011. We collected information about 338 patients’ FB characteristics, complications and hospitalisation.


The mean age was 4.2 ± 2.9 years. Nose and ear are the most involved anatomical sites, followed by pharynx, oesophagus and trachea-bronchi. The most common FBs are balls, beads and toys parts (29.6%), followed by fishbones (13.6%). A lower mean age is observed in tracheo-bronchial and oesophageal FBs. The 9.2% of cases reported complications.


A quick and proper diagnosis followed by an effective treatment of FB injuries and their complication is mandatory. Surveillance registries have a key role in prevention and management of FB injuries; useful information can be obtained also for nurse and ENT specialist training in order to create professionals ready to recognise and manage FB injuries in the most effective way.