Clinical Manifestations of Foreign Body Airway Obstruction

In this article, we will discuss the Clinical Manifestations of Foreign Body Airway Obstruction. So, let’s get started.

Clinical Manifestations

The clinical feature varies according to severity of obstruction.

I. In partial obstruction due to a foreign body, the patient may struggle with the obstruction and tries to ‘ cough it out ‘ or tries to swallow or ‘ wash it down with water ‘. The patient is responsive and can cough forcibly. If air entry is poor, then signs of poor air exchange will appear such as weak ineffective cough, high-pitched noise while inspiration (stridor), increased respiratory difficulty and cyanosis.

II. With complete airway obstruction, the patient may clutch the neck with the thumb and fingers (universal distress sign for choking) and following signs may appear:

  • Inability to speak, breath and cough
  • Pallor followed by cyanosis
  • Loss of consciousness and collapse

If obstruction is not relieved immediately patient may develop cardiac arrest and die.

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