Doctors at a hospital in Quang Ninh Province, northern Vietnam have successfully removed a sharp bamboo toothpick from the duodenum of a female patient.
The patient, 56-year-old N.T.H., had suffered stomach pain since January 21 but she did not see a doctor because it was the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday.
As the pain escalated, H. was taken to a local medical center where she was diagnosed with foreign bodies in the digestive tract, and was later transferred to Quang Ninh General Hospital.
Her CT scan result showed a sharp rod-shaped foreign body about three centimeters long in the second part of the duodenum.
Doctors later performed a gastroscopy to remove the object.
During the procedure, doctors discovered that the foreign body was a sharp bamboo toothpick, with one end piercing through the intestinal mucosa.
Despite difficulties, doctors were able to remove the toothpick from the patient’s duodenum after nearly an hour.
The patient is now in a stable condition and is being monitored and treated with anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics.
“H.’s case is not rare,” said Le Ba Sinh, who performed the gastroscopy.
“However, we encountered a lot of difficulties because the foreign body was left inside the patient for nearly a week and penetrated deep into the intestinal mucosa, causing inflammation,” Sinh elaborated.
Gastrointestinal experts said that swallowing bamboo toothpicks and having them pierce through the intestine are quite common among the elderly.
Most patients have a habit of sleeping while having a toothpick in the mouth, so they may swallow it unintentionally.
Many also wait until their condition becomes very serious and threaten their lives before going to the hospital.
There have been cases in which patients died after swallowing toothpicks, as the toothpicks stuck in the throat may have penetrated nearby blood vessels.
People are advised to go to the hospital as soon as possible if they accidentally swallow a toothpick and are unable to spit it out.
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