IF AN aspirated foreign body is not expelled by cough, the patient may become totally asymptomatic, and a diagnosis may not be made until complications arise later.1 A chest roentgenogram usually shows a radiopaque foreign body; however, the diagnosis of a small or a radiolucent foreign body requires a high index of suspicion and careful bronchoscopy. Situations have been described in which the presence of a foreign body was not diagnosed until part of the lung was removed as treatment for abscess, bronchiectasis, or a suspected tumor.2
We describe an unusual presentation of an aspirated foreign body. Although the object was radiopaque, its presence on the initial chest roentgenograms was not detected.
Report of a Case
In May 1977, a 58-year-old mentally retarded man had a persistent cough, and a chest roentgenogram showed a right upper lobe infiltrate. He was treated with penicillin G procaine, and a repeated
Hargis JL, Hiller FC, Bone RC. Migratory Pulmonary Infiltrates Secondary to Aspirated Foreign Body. JAMA. 1978;240(22):2469. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290220081027