BMJ Case Reports 2013; doi:10.1136/bcr-2013-010486

Airway obstruction from accidental ingestion of a live fish

  1. John Edington3
  1. 1Department of Anaesthesia, Bendigo Health, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Department of Anaesthesia, Austin Hospital, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3Department of Intensive Care, Bendigo Health, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Laurence Weinberg, laurence.weinberg{at}


We present a case of a fisherman who swallowed a live fish, which resulted in severe upper airway obstruction. The firm attachments of the fish's external fins and scales to the airway limit the removal when impacted. We outline our emergency airway management strategies and focus our discussion on the technique used to remove the impacted fish from the upper airway, which was paramount for the successful outcome of this case.

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