The main cause of foreign body inhalation is aspiration of objects, usually in children. It may also be caused by inhalation of dust and foreign particles, trauma, or accidental ingestion.
Foreign body inhalation should be suspected in children with persistent coughing, wheezing, chest pain, or difficulty breathing. Diagnosis is usually confirmed with imaging studies such as X-ray, CT scan, or bronchoscopy.
Foreign body inhalation should be differentiated from other causes of respiratory tract obstruction such as asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
The treatment of foreign body inhalation depends on the severity of the obstruction. Mild cases can often be managed with bronchodilators and supportive care. More severe cases may require bronchoscopy, which involves the insertion of a small camera through the mouth and into the airways to remove the foreign body.
The prognosis for foreign body inhalation is generally good, particularly if the foreign body is removed promptly. If the object is not removed, it can cause serious complications such as airway obstruction, pneumonia, and even death.