Chest CT for the Diagnosis of Pediatric Esophageal Foreign Bodies
Curr Probl Diagn Radiol . Sep-Oct 2021;50(5):566-570. doi: 10.1067/j.cpradiol.2021.03.012. Epub 2021 Mar 8.
Marla B K Sammer, J Herman Kan, Ray Somcio, Andrew C Sher, Carly M Hansen, R Benton Pahlka, R Paul Guillerman, Victor J Seghers
Foreign body ingestion is a common problem in children. Radiography is the mainstay of imaging, but many radiolucent items go undetected without further imaging by fluoroscopic esophagram. While studies in adults support the use of computed tomography (CT) for esophageal foreign body ingestion, CT has historically not been used in children given the typically higher radiation doses on CT compared with fluoroscopy. In distinction to an esophagram, CT does not require oral contrast nor presence of an onsite radiologist and can be interpreted remotely. At our institution, a dedicated CT protocol has been used for airway foreign bodies since 2015. Given the advantages of CT over esophagram, we retrospectively reviewed institutional radiation dose data from 2017 to 2020 for esophagrams, airway foreign body CT (FB-CT), and routine CT Chest to compare effective doses for each modality. For ages 1+ years, effective dose was lowest using the FB-CT protocol; esophagram mean dose showed the most variability, and was over double the dose of FB-CT for ages 5+ years. Routine CT chest doses were uniformly highest across all age ranges. Given these findings, we instituted a CT foreign body imaging protocol as the first-line imaging modality for radiolucent esophageal foreign body at our institution.
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