Background Foreign body injuries in the upper aerodigestive tract are a common and serious problem among children, which is still poorly understood as a result of the difficulty in collecting information with a deep level of detail and a wide geographical coverage needed for active surveillance purposes.
Methods A total of 7296 foreign body injuries in paediatric patients was gathered by the Susy Safe, EU-funded, web registry. The registry involves more than 60 institutions from 24 countries.
Results Approximately 62% (4047) of children were older than 3 years and 54% (3700) were males. Approximately 52% of the foreign bodies were inorganic. Among them pearl, ball and marble (14%), toys (5%), coins (4%) were the most recurrent objects. Among organics, fish bones and bones accounted for 21% of cases and nuts for 13%. The shape of the objects was spherical in 32% of cases. The volume was estimated and the median value was 37.7 mm3 (interquartile range 16.76 to 96.74). Complications arose in 10% of cases and hospitalisation was required in 34% of injuries, with a median length of stay of one day. Injuries took place in the absence of adult supervision in 51% of cases. 52% of injuries occurred while children were playing and 41% while they were eating.
Conclusion The Susy Safe web registry is serving as a basis for a knowledge-based consumer protection activity. It is distinguished from other registries for its wide size and by a deep characterisation of objects that caused the injuries.
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