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October 1986

The 'Altered States' Foreign Body

Author Affiliations

Departments of Diagnostic Radiology and Pediatrics
Department of Diagnostic Radiology
Department of Pediatrics Evanston Hospital—Northwestern University McGaw Medical Center 2650 Ridge Ave Evanston, IL 60201

Am J Dis Child. 1986;140(10):972-973. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1986.02140240018011

Sir.—Young children continue to explore their environment by placing representative samples of it in their mouths. The nature of the ingested foreign body often reflects society's current technology, such as ballpoint pen clips and aluminum "pop tops" from beverage cans. We report a new "state-of-the-art" foreign body—a spongelike miniature animal within a capsule that undergoes a dramatic transformation of size and shape when placed in a liquid medium, be it bath water, as intended by the manufacturer, or gastric juice, as chosen by the patient described in this report.

Patient Report.—A 2-year-old male child was suspected of swallowing an encapsulated foam sponge toy while bathing. The child showed no abnormal symptoms or signs on physical examination despite a careful search for upper airway obstruction, dysphagia, or abdominal pain. Despite the normal clinical examination, the parents insisted on further study; thus, a plain abdominal roentgenogram and an upper gastrointestinal