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An unusual cause of pneumonia: seen but not heard
  1. Kathryn Quinn,
  2. Stephen Alan Rowan,
  3. Jacqueline Rendall
  1. Department of Respiratory Medicine, Belfast City Hospital, Belfast, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jacqueline Rendall, Jacqueline.Rendall{at}


A 75-year-old man presented with a non-resolving pneumonia, malaise and weight loss. His medical history included a squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx and a non-small cell carcinoma of the lung. Chest CT showed right lower lobe collapse and consolidation. Bronchoscopy identified a foreign body in the right main bronchus and was subsequently removed with rigid bronchoscope. The removed foreign body was identified as a Blom-Singer speaking valve which had been aspirated 3 months previously. This is a rare complication of a speaking valve aspiration. This case illustrates the potential differential diagnoses of retained foreign bodies in the lung and that the symptoms can mimic neoplastic disease. Once removed, patients can have a dramatic improvement in quality of life and it is important to remember that a speaking valve may be aspirated, even if one present on the initial examination!

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