To review foreign body aspiration cases encountered over a 10-year period in a tertiary paediatric hospital, and to assess correlation between foreign body type and language spoken at home.
Retrospective chart review of all children undergoing direct laryngobronchoscopy for foreign body aspiration over a 10-year period. Age, sex, foreign body type, complications, hospital stay and home language were analysed.
At direct laryngobronchoscopy, 132 children had foreign body aspiration (male:female ratio 1.31:1; mean age 32 months (2.67 years)). Mean hospital stay was 2.0 days. Foreign bodies most commonly comprised food matter (53/132; 40.1 per cent), followed by non-food matter (44/132; 33.33 per cent), a negative endoscopy (11/132; 8.33 per cent) and unknown composition (24/132; 18.2 per cent). Most parents spoke English (92/132, 69.7 per cent; vs non-English-speaking 40/132, 30.3 per cent), but non-English-speaking patients had disproportionately more food foreign bodies, and significantly more nut aspirations (p = 0.0065). Results constitute level 2b evidence.
Patients from non-English speaking backgrounds had a significantly higher incidence of food (particularly nut) aspiration. Awareness-raising and public education is needed in relevant communities to prevent certain foods, particularly nuts, being given to children too young to chew and swallow them adequately.