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Age: 9 months

Sex: Male

Indication: Swallowed coin

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Case #20


Findings

  • Disc shaped metallic foreign body in the upper thoracic esophagus
  • No focal airspace disease, pleural effusion, or pneumothorax
  • Normal size and configuration of the cardiothymic silhouette


Diagnosis

  • Swallowed foreign body (coin)

Sample Report

Disc shaped metallic foreign body in the upper thoracic esophagus consistent with a swallowed coin.

No focal airspace disease, pleural effusion, or pneumothorax.

Normal size and configuration of the cardiothymic silhouette.


Discussion

  • Coins tend to align in the coronal plane when in the esophagus and in the sagittal plane when in the trachea
  • The identity of the coin can even be determined by measuring the diameter. The following are standard diameter measurements for US currency:
    • Penny: 19 mm
    • Nickle: 21 mm
    • Dime: 18 mm
    • Quarter: 25 mm
  • Pennies minted during and after 1982 pose an additional threat due to high zinc content, which can cause local inflammation and if absorbed can cause liver, kidney, and pancreas dysfunction
  • Make sure you do not mistake the “double-ring” appearance of a button battery for a coin, since button batteries are usually removed whereas coins are often allowed to pass on their own



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