SHORT REPORTSHistory of possible foreign body ingestion in children: don't forget the raritiesWoolley, Sarah L.a; Smith, David R.K.bAuthor Information aConsultant Emergency Department, Bristol Royal Infirmary/Bristol Children's Hospital, Bristol bUniversity Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK Correspondence and requests for reprints to Dr Sarah L. Woolley, Consultant Emergency Department, Bristol Royal Infirmary/Bristol Children's Hospital, Upper Maudlin Street, Bristol, UK Tel: +44 117 928 2622; fax: +44 117 928 2713; e-mail: [email protected] Received 26 November 2004 Revised 14 July 2005 Accepted 14 July 2005 European Journal of Emergency Medicine: December 2005 - Volume 12 - Issue 6 - p 312-316 Buy Abstract Foreign body ingestion in children is a common presenting complaint to the emergency department. Although the majority of ingested foreign bodies pass through the gastrointestinal tract unaided, some children will require either non-surgical or surgical intervention. Retained oesophageal foreign bodies may cause a multitude of problems, including mucosal ulceration, inflammation or infection, and more seriously paraoesophageal or retropharyngeal abscess formation, mediastinitis, empyema, oesophageal perforation and aorta-oesophageal fistula formation. We present a case of a 12-month-old child in whom delayed diagnosis of glass ingestion resulted in the development of a retropharyngeal abscess, oesophageal perforation and mediastinitis. Such complications following foreign body ingestion in children are rare but potentially fatal. A high index of suspicion must be maintained in young children presenting with a possible history of foreign body ingestion as a delayed diagnosis may lead to significant morbidity and mortality. We review the literature surrounding paediatric retropharyngeal abscesses and mediastinitis. © 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.