Ali Jafari is a 11-month-old male brought to the emergency department, or ED, by his parents, who state that Ali was playing on the floor when he started to cough and choke.
They rushed him to the ED when Ali’s coughing got worse and started to have trouble breathing.
Ali is being treated for upper airway obstruction due to foreign body aspiration.
The upper airway consists of the nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, pharynx, and larynx.
Any mass or edema in these regions can cause partial or complete obstruction.
One common cause is upper respiratory tract infections like croup, laryngitis, and epiglottitis which are typically caused by viruses, and can lead to inflammation which can cause edema and obstruction of parts of the upper airway.
Allergens like dust, pollen and pet dander can cause mild reactions like rhinitis and sinusitis where nasal discharge and congestion can lead to obstruction.
More severe reactions like anaphylaxis can occur when there’s severe allergic reactions to things like peanuts or shellfish.
This can lead to angioedema, which is a rapid and severe swelling of the mucosa, leading to obstruction.
Trauma that causes airway obstruction can include direct trauma like a car crash or gunshot wound which can collapse parts of the airway or cause bleeding that obstructs the airway.