Pediatric Airway Obstruction

This case was written by Drs. Rob Woods and Gautam Sinha. Rob is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan.  He works clinically in Adult & Pediatric EM, as well as doing Transport Medicine with STARS.  He is the FRCPC Residency Program Director as well as the Program Director for the Clinician Educator Diploma Program at the University of Saskatchewan.

Why It Matters

Acute airway obstruction is a time sensitive and anxiety inducing presentation. For most providers this is even more true with pediatric patients. When a patient presents to the emergency department with airway compromise, having a methodical and timely approach can be life saving. This case gives a chance to practice recognition and management of the upper airway obstruction.

Clinical Vignette

An 8-year-old boy (30kg) has been brought to the ED by ambulance. He was eating a sausage about 30 minutes earlier and choked.  He lost consciousness with the ambulance crew and they were unable to visualize or remove the foreign body.  He is peri-arrest on ED arrival with O2 saturations in the 40s. 

Case Summary

This case involves an 8 year-old boy with upper airway obstruction from sausage. When indirect treatment fails, removal with Magill forceps under direct visualization is required. The patient slowly recovers after removal of foreign body but will require admission for monitoring.

Download the case here: Pediatric Airway Obstruction

CXR for the case found here:


(CXR sourced from authors of case)

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