Abstract

Foreign body aspiration is seen predominantly in children and elderly patients. Depending on the size, type and location of the foreign object, occlusion of the central airway can occur, resulting in life-threatening situations. Bronchoscopy is the cornerstone in the diagnosis and treatment of foreign body aspiration. Rigid bronchoscopy is preferred due to its larger lumen, allowing the use of more robust and larger tools and providing a secure airway during the procedure. In extreme cases, ECMO can be life-saving in children. The sooner the foreign body is removed, the less local inflammatory reaction occurs. The vast majority of foreign bodies can be retrieved by bronchoscopy. When unsuccessful, a thoracotomy may be needed. Inhalation injuries caused by smoke or chemical products of combustion are often associated with long-standing pulmonary dysfunction and significant morbidity and mortality. These traumas are often associated with skin burns, which increase the overall morbidity. Factors such as systemic inflammation, sepsis, ventilator-induced lung injury and post-traumatic development of pneumonia may also negatively affect the injured respiratory system. There is still no common consensus about the diagnostic strategy, and relatively few novel therapeutic options are available; therefore, treatments are for the most part supportive.