Ray Shows OAP's Dentures Stuck In Throat For Eight Days After Operation

Henrietta Brewer
August 13, 2019

The 72-year-old retired electrician underwent surgery to remove a harmless lump in his abdominal wall at Gorleston's James Paget University Hospital when the dentures got stuck according to a British Medical Journal case report. He returned to hospital complaining of difficulties breathing and swallowing, and of constant blood in his mouth. The doctors were unable to determine what was causing these symptoms and sent him home after prescribing mouthwash, antibiotics, and steroids.

But because of the denture debacle, he suffered pain, bleeding and swallowing difficulties, and endured repeated hospital visits, additional invasive tests and blood transfusions.

While examining his throat, doctors found "a metallic semicircular object overlying the vocal cords and completely obstructing their view".

It wasn't until the man's condition worsened, prompting a second trip to the emergency room, that doctors finally discovered the real source of his symptoms: His dentures, which he thought were lost during an operation eight days earlier, had actually been lodged in his throat the entire time, according to an article published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal BMJ Case Reports.

"There are no set national guidelines on how dentures should be managed during anesthesia", Cunniffe wrote, adding that many hospitals allow false teeth to be left in place until right before a patient is intubated.

X-rays confirmed this was the foreign body lodged in his throat - he was taken for emergency surgery to remove them and discharged after a further six days in hospital.

He was hospitalised, though doctors still mistakenly assumed he had developed severe pneumonia, possibly caused by having inhaled food, stomach acid, or saliva into his lungs. But six days later a bout of bleeding prompted his return.

After another two days in the hospital, he was sent home.

Tests revealed he had internal wound tissue around the site of the blistering which was cauterised to prevent further bleeding.

After a couple of days he was again discharged, but returned six days later because of further bleeding.

The man had to have a blood transfusion he lost so much blood.

Over the next six weeks, however, his tissue healed, he did not require any more emergency care, and his blood count returned to normal, according to the August 12 BMJ Case Reports.

A neck X-ray showing a man's dentures caught in his throat.

The report's authors said there had been other documented cases of dentures being inhaled during anaesthetic.

However, all members of the surgical team need to know what's to be done with a patient's dentures, Cunniffe and her colleagues said.

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