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A 10 year old boy was seen in the accident and emergency department giving a history of swallowing the metal disc that makes up part of the ring pull from a steel soft drinks can. He could feel it stuck in his throat, at the level of the cricoid, and it was uncomfortable to swallow. He was otherwise completely fit and well. Examination was unremarkable.
A plain AP radiograph of the neck was obtained (fig 1), with clear views to the level of the third thoracic vertebra, which was normal, and the patient reviewed. In view of the persistent symptoms, and the definite history, a lateral radiograph of the neck was performed (fig 2). This showed a radio-opaque object at the level of the first thoracic vertebra.
A referral to the ENT surgeons was made, oesophagoscopy performed under general anaesthetic, and the foreign body removed. The child made a full, uneventful recovery. …