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Revista Brasileira de Otorrinolaringologia

Print version ISSN 0034-7299


MAMEDE, Rui Celso Martins et al. Do foreign bodies migrate through the body towards the heart?. Rev. Bras. Otorrinolaringol. [online]. 2009, vol.75, n.2, pp.195-199. ISSN 0034-7299.

Fixation of foreign bodies (FB), in the mucosa, can favor its migration, giving origin to the popular saying: "FB walk to the heart". AIM: describe the mechanisms involved in FB migration and how to diagnose them. METHODOLOGY: From a sample of 3,000 foreign bodies, during 40 years, we analyzed four which had extra-lumen migration. We analyzed clinical, radiologic, endoscopic and ultrasound data collected at the medical documentation service. RESULTS: three clinical histories are presented, describing two fish bones and one piece of fish cartilage. FB shifting was analyzed in all of them. Migration started in the esophagus in two, one going to the aorta and the other to the neck area. In the other two, migration started in the pharynx, and the FB moved towards the prevertebral fascia and the other externalized in the submandibular region. The mechanisms and the risks posed to the patient, by FB migration, and the way to diagnose them are hereby discussed. CONCLUSIONS: the study allows us to determine that FB can move through the body but not towards the heart. The study also serves as a warning sign: in cases of prolonged histories of FB ingestion, imaging studies are mandatory before endoscopic examination.

Keywords : esophageal diseases; esophagus; pharynx.

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