[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
July 15, 1983

Aspiration of a Balloon by a 3-Month-Old Infant

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital, University of California, San Diego.

JAMA. 1983;250(3):385-386. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340030045027

FOREIGN-body aspiration with subsequent airway obstruction typically occurs in children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years; this may be heralded by sudden respiratory decompensation and often is manifested by asymmetric abnormalities on both physical and roentgenographic examination. A history consistent with exposure to either food or small parts of toys is present in approximately 90% of proven cases.1 Bronchoscopic removal is the recommended treatment as it is safe and effective.2 Because we recently treated a child whose presentation and course following aspiration of a foreign body were so unusual, we report this instructive case to discuss potential pitfalls in diagnosis and management.

Report of a Case  A 3-month-old male infant had a medical history of wheezing that was treated with antihistamines and bronchodilators. On the morning of admission he was febrile, irritable, and breathing with slightly more difficulty than usual, according to his mother. By noon,