Is It Possible to Miss a Metallic Airway Foreign Body on a Chest Radiograph? Imaging Case Report from Zambia


  • Osward Bwanga Midlands University Hospital Tullamore
  • Mulewa Mulenga Arthur Davison Children's Hospital and Copperbelt University, Ndola, Zambia
  • Ethel C. Jere Arthur Davison Children's Hospital, Radiology Department, Ndola, Zambia
  • James M. Sichone University of Zambia, School of Health Sciences, Radiography Section, Lusaka, Zambia



Aspirated foreign body, Children, Medical imaging, Radiographer, Zambia


Infants and young children are commonly referred for medical imaging for suspected aspirated or inhaled foreign bodies (Fbs). FB aspirations are potentially life-threatening and immediate diagnosis and treatment are vital to avert fatalities.
Chest radiography is the first-line imaging method indicated to evaluate suspected aspirated FB. This can be supplemented withothermedical imaging modalities, such as fluoroscopy, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, the lack of specialised medical imaging modalities in developing countries impends timely diagnosis of aspirated FB. We report a case of a 7-year-old girl with airway metallic FB not visible on the initial chest radiograph. This case report highlights the challenges low-income health institutions are facing in the diagnosing of airway FBs and other complicated conditions which require advanced imaging. In the absence of specialised medical imaging modalities, radiographers and clinicians should have high indexes of suspicion to avert deaths. In addition, specialised training of radiographers in the absence of radio lo gists might contribute to improved patient outcomes.


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Author Biography

  • Osward Bwanga, Midlands University Hospital Tullamore

    Radiology Department, Co. Offaly, Ireland





Case Report

How to Cite

Is It Possible to Miss a Metallic Airway Foreign Body on a Chest Radiograph? Imaging Case Report from Zambia. (2022). Medical Journal of Zambia, 49(1), 96-101.

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