This paper describes and discusses the case of an oesophageal foreign body, in which the patient presented with primarily respiratory clinical signs.
A 17-month-old child, who had ingested a watch battery, presented to emergency services on multiple occasions with upper respiratory tract symptoms. Subsequent radiographs showed the battery in the oesophagus impinging on the trachea. The battery was removed successfully under a general anaesthetic.
Large oesophageal foreign bodies can impinge on the trachea causing upper respiratory tract signs. In such cases, anteroposterior and lateral chest films are imperative to make a correct diagnosis.