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Foreign Body, Esophageal

Foreign Body, Esophageal is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Esophageal foreign bodies (FBs) typically lodge at 3 sites of physiologic constriction:
    • Cricopharyngeal muscle—63%, most common (C6)
    • Gastroesophageal junction—20% (T11)
    • Aortic arch—10% (T4)
  • 90% of ingested FBs pass spontaneously.
  • 10–20% are removed endoscopically, and 1% or less require surgery.


  • Most common adult and adolescent FBs are food boluses and bones
  • Increased risk:
    • Edentulous adults
    • Intoxicated patients
    • Patients with underlying esophageal disease: Schatzki B-rings or peptic strictures are most common

Pediatric Considerations
  • 80% of FB ingestions occur in pediatric age group, peak ages 6 mo–6 yr, particularly younger than 2 yr.
  • Coins are most common:
    • Most common: 80% of esophageal FBs
  • 2 additional areas of constriction: Thoracic inlet (T1) and tracheal bifurcation (T6)

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Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Foreign Body, Esophageal." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307265/all/Foreign_Body__Esophageal.
Foreign Body, Esophageal. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307265/all/Foreign_Body__Esophageal. Accessed April 24, 2019.
Foreign Body, Esophageal. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307265/all/Foreign_Body__Esophageal
Foreign Body, Esophageal [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 April 24]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307265/all/Foreign_Body__Esophageal.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Foreign Body, Esophageal ID - 307265 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307265/all/Foreign_Body__Esophageal PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -