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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Children's Health Swallowing of coin

Swallowing of coin

Accidental swallowing of small objects like coin are very common in children. The swallowed coin will lodge in esophagus. This may lead to complete obstruction, making it impossible for the child to swallow saliva and having a risk of perforation of esophagus.

The coin is removed by the doctor by using a tube called endoscope.

In most of the cases the coin passes through the esophagus after it is swallowed. The common sites of obstruction are the pylorus (the opening that connects the stomach to the upper intestine or duodenum) and the ilieocaecal valve (the connection between the small intestine and the large intestine). The object smaller than 2.5 cm in diameter usually pass from stomach and through the small intestine, colon, rectum without any complications.
The passage of the coin is monitored by series of x-rays.
The coin less than 2.5 cm can be watched and not removed immediately.

The coin is removed through endoscope if the coin remains in stomach for 3 weeks.
Even though the coin passes beyond the stomach, it can still cause problems in small intestine or colon. If it is not advancing in the small intestine for two straight weeks then surgical removal is considered. If the coin stays in colon for 3 weeks, endoscopic (colonoscopic) removal would also indicated. If the signs of intestinal obstruction occur like severe abdominal pain, distension or fever, then urgent surgical intervention is possible.

Symptoms of swallowing of coins:

A child who has swallowed exhibits sudden cough, choking, drooling, pain in the throat or inability to eat or drink.

  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Food refusal and weight loss
  • Drooling.
  • Vomiting/vomiting blood.
  • Feeling of foreign body in throat.
  • Chest pain.
  • Sore throat.
  • Stridor and cough.
  • Unexplained fever.