Missing dentures found stuck in throat 8 days after surgery
14 August, 2019, 12:16
A man's false teeth were stuck in his throat for eight days after he "inhaled" them during a routine operation, it has emerged. They became lodged in his throat during surgery and weren't discovered until eight days later.
An X-ray of a patient who was left with his dentures in his throat after surgery. However, after six days, he had started to feel some pain and was struggling to swallow, so returned to A&E.
Doctors at the Gorleston hospital believed it was a respiratory infection and side effects from having a tube in his throat during surgery, and prescribed antibiotics and steroids. He was admitted to hospital with suspected aspiration pneumonia-a severe chest infection usually caused by inhaling food or stomach acid or saliva into the lungs. Doctors had to cauterize it to stop the bleeding and conduct a blood transfusion because he had lost so much blood. He also complained of feeling short of breath when lying down.
The authors recommend carefully documenting the presence of dentures and other prosthetics both before and after any surgery to make sure that they are accounted for.
The man remained in the hospital for another six days before being released.
After another two days in the hospital, he was sent home.
When the pain intensified, ER doctors noticed "a metallic semicircular object" - with the retired electrician telling them "his dentures had been lost" during surgery eightdays earlier, the report states.
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Further X-rays revealed the foreign body to be just that.
The man reportedly required several blood transfusions due to a tear in one of his arteries. The entire story is outlined in a new case study in the journal BMJ Case Reports, published Monday.
According to one of the 72-year-old man's United Kingdom doctors, who wrote about the case in BMJ Case Reports on Monday, his trouble began soon after a successful and seemingly well-done surgery that removed a benign lump from inside his chest. Cunniffe is an ear, nose and throat specialist with James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Great Yarmouth, England.
It's not the first time dentures have been swallowed during anesthesia.
"The case was subject to a full Trust investigation, as we take the learning from any incident extremely seriously to ensure we continuously improve our services to patients".
"As a result of this, processes have been reviewed, amended as necessary, and the lessons learnt have been shared with staff", she said.