A Chicken Bone in your Lungs?

June 1, 2018  Source: Ddu 102

An Australian man aged 78 years, was sent to the emergency room immediately after he choked while eating chicken. He informed the doctors that he felt as if something got stuck in his throat. But the X-ray report of his neck and chest didn't reveal anything suspicious. Hence, the doctors discharged him thinking that whatever had been stuck got removed by itself.

However, after five days, he was again sent to the emergency room due to fever, breathing difficulty and high-pitched wheezing sound while inhaling. The doctors immediately performed a CT scan, which revealed a chicken bone in the right bronchus (the branching part from the trachea into the lung).

When an adult inhales a foreign body by chance, the diagnosis can be delayed by weeks, months or even years. For instance, there was a female in Canada who survived 22 years with a bone piece stuck in her bronchus. Similarly, a man aged 47 in England, had a tiny toy stuck in his airway for around 40 years. It’s thus safe to say that people are able to survive if a foreign object is relatively small and doesn't completely block the airway, which leads to less-severe symptoms, to begin with. It could, however, cause severe complications at a later stage, such as inflammation and post-obstructive pneumonia.

Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City said, "The problem is that so many patients show these symptoms and they clear their airways on their own, and they go on to do fine."

In the case of Australian patient, a procedure named bronchoscopy was performed to remove the chicken bone. The patient recovered and was discharged from the hospital after three days.

By Ddu