Teen Has Metal Coin Stuck Between Vochal Cords in Bizarre Accident

A California teen became the subject of a recent medical paper after getting a metal coin vertically stuck between his vocal cords like in a slot machine.

In a medical report published in this month’s New England Journal of Medicine, a team of doctors detailed the bizarre case of a 14-year-old boy who showed up at the emergency room of a hospital with a hoarse throat and swallowing difficulties. He told the staff that he had accidentally swallowed a quarter, but reported no difficulties breathing and no drooling. However, after performing an X-ray scan of his chest and neck, doctors immediately recognized the severity of the situation, as the metal coin had become stuck in a vertical position between his vocal cords and could damage them if left there for too long.

Photo: Joshua Hoehne/Unsplash

“When aspirated into the airway by older children, foreign bodies typically lodge more distally than in this case (in the trachea or a mainstem bronchus), owing to gravity and the larger airway size,” doctors wrote, adding that in this case, things happened a bit differently.

Once the coin passed the vocal cords and the glottis, it became lodged between the teen’s cords and the trachea, in a very small space known as the subglottis. Endoscopically-taken photos show the metal object sitting in the subglottis like in a slot machine.

“Airway foreign bodies — especially those in the trachea and larynx — necessitate immediate removal to reduce the risk of respiratory compromise,” the report read, so doctors sedated the team and performed an emergency bronchoscopy using a grabbing tool.

Apart from some minor ulcerations where the coin’s rimmed edge made contact with the delicate tissue, there was no damage to the boy’s throat, and his initial symptoms – hoarse throat and difficulty swallowing – improved as soon as the coin was removed. He was discharged after the coin’s removal.

Coins are the most common object swallowed by children, making up around 60% of all reported swallowed objects, although accidental ingestion usually occurs in children under the age of six.

Posted in News        Tags: , , , ,