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    Foreign body (FB) ingestion is common in children, particularly from 6 months to 3 years of age. As young children may be unable to provide a clinical history and the ingestion is often unwitnessed, imaging plays an important role in diagnosis, predicting outcomes and detecting complications that require surgical intervention. Since 2015, our institution's diagnostic algorithm for suspected airway foreign bodies has included a noncontrast airway FB CT (FB-CT) with the z-axis coverage spanning from the larynx to the proximal segmental bronchi of the lower lung zones. The effective dose of radiation from this FB-CT airway protocol is typically less than 1 mSv, compared to an effective dose of just under 1 mSv to up to 3 mSv for a fluoroscopic esophagram in children under 10 years of age and 1-3 mSv for a routine pediatric CT chest. In using the FB-CT airway protocol at our institution, we observed that esophageal rather than airway FBs were sometimes encountered on these exams. However, the confidence among radiologists for definitively diagnosing an esophageal foreign body on noncontrast CT was variable. Consequently, we created a teaching module of positive cases for our group of 21 pediatric body radiologists to increase their diagnostic confidence. This pictorial essay illustrates our institutional experience and can help others to confidently diagnose esophageal foreign bodies using a dedicated CT foreign body imaging protocol. At a similar radiation dose to a fluoroscopic esophagram, CT provides the additional advantage of an expedited diagnosis without the need for a radiologist on site. © 2021. Japan Radiological Society.


    Victor J Seghers, J Herman Kan, Ray Somcio, Andrew C Sher, R Paul Guillerman, Marla B K Sammer. CT imaging of esophageal foreign bodies in children: a pictorial essay. Japanese journal of radiology. 2022 Mar;40(3):262-270

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    PMID: 34661860

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