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Evaluation and Management of Pill AspirationPill Aspiration: Case Discussion and Review of the Literature

C. Matthew Kinsey, MD; Erik Folch, MD; Adnan Majid, MD, FCCP; Colleen L. Channick, MD, FCCP
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From the Pulmonary and Critical Care Unit (Drs Kinsey and Channick), Massachusetts General Hospital; the Division of Thoracic Surgery and Interventional Pulmonology (Drs Folch and Majid), Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; and the Harvard Medical School (Drs Kinsey, Folch, Majid, and Channick), Boston, MA.

Correspondence to: Colleen L. Channick, MD, FCCP, Pulmonary Special Procedures Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit St, Bigelow 952, Boston, MA 02114; e-mail: cchannick@partners.org


Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2013;143(6):1791-1795. doi:10.1378/chest.12-1571
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Pill aspiration represents a unique type of foreign body aspiration requiring a distinct diagnostic and therapeutic approach. In many cases, the “foreign body” itself may no longer be present, whereas the airway manifestations may persist for months to years. Limited data exist to guide management decisions. We report two cases of severe airway injury secondary to pill aspiration and provide a review of the literature. Endobronchial surveillance may be important to identify impending airway obstruction via secretions, edema, granulation tissue, or fibrotic stricture. In many cases, the airway sequelae of pill aspiration can be effectively managed with bronchoscopy.

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