Teen Gets Metal Coin Stuck Between Vocal Cords

Swallowing something you shouldn’t will only cause more problems in the future. A California teenager showed up at a hospital with a metal coin vertically stuck between his vocal cords.

The 14-year-old boy arrived at the emergency room of a hospital saying that he had a hoarse throat and difficulty swallowing. He told the staff that he had accidentally swallowed a quarter but reported no difficulties breathing and no drooling at the time.

After performing an X-ray scan of the boy’s chest and neck, it was revealed that the metal coin had become stuck in a vertical position between his vocal cords. Doctors immediately recognized the severity of the situation as the coin could damage the area if left there for too long.

“When aspirated into the airway by older children, foreign bodies typically lodge more distally than in this case (in the trachea or a mainstem bronchus), owing to gravity and the larger airway size,” doctors wrote.

Doctors determined that as the coin passed the vocal cords and the glottis, it became lodged between the teen’s cords and the trachea, in a very small space known as the subglottis. Endoscopically taken photos showed the metal object sitting in the subglottis as if it were a slot machine.

“Airway foreign bodies — especially those in the trachea and larynx — necessitate immediate removal to reduce the risk of respiratory compromise,” the report read.

Doctors sedated the teenager and performed an emergency bronchoscopy using a grabbing tool. Other than some minor ulcerations where the coin’s rimmed edge made contact with the delicate tissue, no damage was done to the boy’s throat. His initial symptoms also improved as soon as the coin was removed.