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Mediastinitis and retropharyngeal abscess following delayed diagnosis of glass ingestion
  1. J Allotey,
  2. H Duncan,
  3. H Williams
  1. Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr J Allotey
 c/o Dr H Duncan, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Stealhouse Lane, Birmingham B4 5NH, UK; jayallotey{at}


Foreign body ingestion is a common occurrence in childhood. We report the outcome of an infant who swallowed a piece of glass. The absence of a foreign body on chest radiograph led to delayed diagnosis and then to the well documented complications of retropharyngeal abscess and mediastinitis. She was admitted to the paediatric intensive care unit a week after her initial presentation, subjected to multiple invasive and non-invasive procedures, and 6 weeks after her initial presentation to the accident and emergency department, was discharged back to her referring hospital having re-established oral feeds.

  • TPN, total parenteral nutrition
  • ENT, ear, nose, and throat, PICU, paediatric intensive care unit
  • retropharyngeal
  • abscess
  • x ray
  • foreign body

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  • Competing interests: none declared