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Reminder of important clinical lesson
All that wheezes is not asthma: a 6-year-old with foreign body aspiration and no suggestive history
  1. Amy Maguire,
  2. Saikiran Gopalakaje,
  3. Katherine Eastham
  1. Department of Paediatrics, Sunderland Royal Hospital, Sunderland, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Saikiran Gopalakaje, sgopalakaje{at}


The authors report the case of a 6-year-old girl, presenting with a 4-month history of wheeze associated with barking cough which frequently became wet requiring antibiotics. Her care was transferred to a paediatrician with specialist interest in paediatric respiratory medicine when she had continued symptoms despite bronchodilators and oral steroids for suspected asthma. Spirometry showed a forced expiratory volume 1 of 79% with no evidence of reversibility. The child was investigated for chronic wet cough. Immunoglobulins, sweat test and chest x-ray were all normal. There was no history suggestive of foreign body aspiration (FBA). Tracheomalacia was considered in view of the nature of the cough. The recurrence of an unusual inspiratory noise prompted referral for bronchoscopy. A small piece of plastic tube was removed from the bronchus intermedius. All symptoms resolved. The importance of clinical assessment to ascertain ‘wheeze’ when acutely unwell is emphasised. Current literature concerning FBA is reviewed.

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