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Syndrome of Iron Pill Aspiration*

Pyng Lee, MD; Daniel A. Culver, DO; Carol Farver, MD; Atul C. Mehta, MBBS, FCCP
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*From the Departments of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine (Drs. Lee, Culver, and Mehta) and Histopathology (Dr. Farver), Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH.

Correspondence to: Atul C. Mehta, MBBS, FCCP, Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine/A90, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Ave, Cleveland OH 44195; e-mail: mehtaa1@ccf.org



Chest. 2002;121(4):1355-1357. doi:10.1378/chest.121.4.1355
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Bronchial stenosis (BS) consequent to iron pill aspiration (IPA) has been observed in few reported cases. This condition is often irreversible and may necessitate lobectomy in severe cases. Unlike most foreign bodies (FBs), the iron pill disintegrates in the airway and cannot be detected on bronchoscopy. However, bronchial biopsy and lung tissue may reveal iron deposits along with airway inflammation months after the aspiration. Thus, IPA can be diagnosed by a triad of aspiration, airway inflammation, and iron deposits on histology even in the absence of an FB. We report a case of IPA with BS in which the diagnosis was established by bronchial biopsy and was successfully managed with balloon bronchoplasty and therapy with topical mitomycin C.

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