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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Valvular Heart Diseases

Question: food particle stuck in my trachea

 ontopwater2 - Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:36 am

Female, 55 years

About a year and a half ago, when I was eating in an restaurant, a piece of pancake went down the wrong pipe and I had violent cough for many days including coughing through 5 nights. I was hospitalized and had tubes went down my throat and they could not find anything. I felt better until now, I can feel the food particle again, and I am coughing about 5 times a day, pretty severe coughing... what shall I do???? Please advise.[/b]
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:47 pm

User avatar Hello ontopwater2 - Even though you apparently had a scope done of your espohagus at the time of the original incident and nothing was found, I am suspecting that most likely you have one of two problems (or possibly both): One is an esaphageal diverticulum, a little pocket that forms in some peoples' esophagus and often catches food particles, causing coughing, discomfort, rumination, etc. The other is achalasia, a motor nerve disorder which can cause problems with swallowing and so on occasion choking on bits of food. The likelihood of you being able to feel the same bits of food you swallowed 18 months ago, while not imossible, is at least improbable. However, with either of the above two disorders there is the possibility of an unpleasant awareness of the presence of "something" (usually assumed to be a bit of food) stuck somewhere in the passage.

The fact that you have a sensation of something being down there (and duplicating the sensation you had when you choked on food previously) suggests achalasia. This is usually the result of the lower esaphageal sphincter not working correctly - more precisely, it not opening sufficiently when it is supposed to, and so trapping bits of food inside the esophagus. It is treated by passing increasingly large, egg-shaped objects through it in order to force it to open up more. This is usually effective, and is not much different than having a gastroscopy such as you probably had done during your visit to the hospital. It is done under moderate sedation.

Another possibility is that you actually have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and a bit of food has found its way back to the original location, which would probably be a small pocket high up in the esophagus.

Sometimes achalasia is accompanied by a sensation of a lump in the throat although nothing is actually there. Called "globus sensation", this is usually seen in conjunction with some emotional issue, often one of prolonged sadness over some event or situation, or with mild chronic anxiety.

I would suggest a referral to an ENT specialist who would best be able to figure out what is going on. It is awfully odd that the exact same symptoms returned after such a long time. You certainly shouldn't have to deal with this sort of thing indefinitely.

Best of luck to you and please let us know how things go.
 ontopwater2 - Mon Mar 26, 2007 3:39 am

I am new and glad to find this forum. I am very grateful for your informative and Quick response. I am trying in vain to post this in ENT forum. I will also seek medical help when I get some insurance. Not mentioned in my earlier post that I was hospitalized in Kenya, Africa with one procedure done in the morning and another at night, with full anesthetesia and they find nothing. I am coughing so hard my chest sore.

I truly appreciate your help.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:13 pm

User avatar Hello -

Just following up and wondering if you ever managed to get the coughing under control. It occurs to me there could have been some very minor nerve damage during the two procedures done in Kenya.

Hope this finds you well.

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