Allergy Asthma Respir Dis.  2018 Sep;6(5):241-247. 10.4168/aard.2018.6.5.241.

Chest radiographs and computed tomography scans in children with airway foreign body

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Kaya Pediatrics, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Radiology, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.


This study aimed to evaluate the diagnostic value of radiologic findings in children with suspected foreign body aspiration.
A retrospective medical chart review was done on 32 children with suspected foreign bodies in terms of age, sex, symptoms, signs, bronchographic findings, and type and location of foreign bodies. The diagnostic value of radiography was analyzed: 29 with chest anteroposterior (AP) or posteroanterior (PA) view, 23 with chest lateral decubitus view, 27 with chest computed tomography (CT), 29 with chest AP, PA or chest lateral decubitus view, and 25 with bronchoscopy.
As a measure for detecting foreign body aspiration, the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and accuracy of radiologic findings were: chest AP or PA view, 50%, 100%, 100%, 29.4%, and 58.6%, respectively; chest lateral decubitus view, 57.9%, 50.0%, 84.6%, 20.0%, and 56.5%, respectively; chest AP, PA or chest lateral decubitus view, 69.6%, 66.7%, 88.8%, 36.4%, and 69.0%, respectively; and chest CT, 100.0%, 85.7%, 95.2%, 100.0%, and 96.2%, respectively.
There is clinical benefit to take chest radiographs to diagnose foreign body aspiration. However, based on the results of this study, it may be not necessary to take chest lateral decubitus to diagnose foreign body aspiration. If chest radiographs show unilateral hyperinflation, foreign body aspiration can be diagnosed. In cases of normal chest radiography and history of a witnessed choking episode combined with positive signs, the diagnosis of airway foreign body aspiration should be made by using chest CT.


X-ray computed tomography; Child; Foreign bodies
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