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  1. D G Gill,
  2. S Ryan
  1. Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street, Dublin 1, Ireland;

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We read with interest the recent article of Papadopoulos et al.1 The Euro was accepted with remarkable alacrity by the peoples of the eurozone. The franc, mark, guilder, lira, and other currencies were effectively replaced within one week in February 2002. The euro changeover was effective, efficient, and essentially painless. The currency has prospered with 20% growth since its introduction and is now worth approximately 70 pence sterling and one US dollar 15 cents.

In the first few months of the euro, we too noticed several children presenting to our emergency department having decided to see how well the euro went down. These were children in the oral exploratory ages of 1–3 years. As a consequence and for guidance to our emergency department colleagues, a “eurometer” was made (fig 1). Some of the euro coins are small and some ended up in the upper airway, the oesophagus, and the stomachs of toddlers and preschool children (fig 2). We have seen 22 such patients in first eight months of this year. A few euroretrievals were required.

Figure 2

 1 Euro coin in upper oesophagus.

The UK’s euro debate sees the euro as a threat to the national pound. Has anyone else considered the euroaspiration? “Should the UK stay in or out of the euro?” ask the headlines? Sweden plunged into controversy when it consulted its people in a euro referendum. Denmark is sitting on the fence. The UK is discussing and dallying on the issue.

All accident and emergency departments in the eurozone ought to be cognisant of the potential of the 1 cent coin to lodge in the oesophagus or sit in the upper airway. The differential diagnosis of any toddler with acute upper airway obstruction should, in the eurozone, include eurostridor.

We, like Dr Papadopoulos and colleagues, warn that if one aspires to euroconvert, one must accept euroaspirations.