We report the case of a 6-month-old girl who presented with recurrent pneumonia and growth failure. After full examination, she was diagnosed with long-standing, unrecognised tracheal foreign body, which was then successfully removed. However, her chronic respiratory symptoms did not improve, and she also had feeding intolerance. The persistence of symptoms indicated a second bronchoscopy and finally an acquired tracheo-oesophageal fistula was diagnosed. This case emphasises the challenges in diagnosis of an inhaled foreign body in young children. Late diagnosis of this condition can cause significant morbidities. A high index of suspicion and careful investigation are very important to prevent long-term complications.
- paediatric intensive care
- pneumonia (respiratory medicine)
- primary care
- general practice / family medicine
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Contributors KR: participated in the patient’s medical management (as main physician), family counselling, parents’ informed consent and manuscript preparation. WA: participated in the patient’s treatment (as pulmonologist consultant, bronchoscopist assistant) and manuscript editing. KS: participated in the patient’s treatment (as paediatric intensivist) and manuscript editing. PP: participated in the patient’s treatment (as paediatric intensivist) and manuscript editing.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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