A PENSIONER spent eight days with his dentures lodged in his throat after surgery.
The 72-year-old man was left in agony with blood in his mouth and struggling to swallow after undergoing an operation to remove a harmless lump in his abdominal wall.
Doctors discovered the man had a semi-circular object lying across his vocal chords, which had caused internal swelling and blistering[/caption]
The unnamed man was sent home and prescribed mouthwash, antibiotics and steroids to treat what doctors thought were the effects of having a tube down his throat during surgery and a respiratory infection.
However, the retired electrician soon returned to A&E when his pain got worse.
After examining the patient, doctors soon discovered he had a semi-circular object lying across his vocal chords, which had caused internal swelling and blistering.
The report in the BMJ Case Reports medical journal states: “On explaining this to the patient, he revealed that his dentures had been lost during his general surgery admission eight days earlier and consisted of a metallic roof plate and three front teeth.”
An X-ray confirmed he had dentures stuck in his throat and he was taken for emergency surgery to remove them and was discharged after six days later.
However, a bout of bleeding forced him to return once more six days later, followed by a second visit 10 days after that, and a third six days after being discharged again.
The pensioner required a blood transfusion because he had lost so much blood[/caption]
Tests showed he had suffered an internal wound tissue around the site of the blistering which doctors then treated by cauterising it to prevent further bleeding.
The man also required a blood transfusion because he had lost so much blood.
Despite this, the man’s order was far from over – and nine days after he was discharged once more he returned with further bleeding which required emergency surgery as the source of the bleed was a torn artery in the wound.
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This is not the first instance of dentures being inhaled while anaesthetic is being administered[/caption]
According to the report, a check-up a week after the procedure showed the tissue was healing, and six weeks after that the man had not needed further emergency care.
However, the authors of the report state that this is not the first instance of dentures being inhaled while anaesthetic is being administered.
The report adds: “There are no set national guidelines on how dentures should be managed during anaesthesia, but it is known that leaving dentures in during bag-mask ventilation allows for a better seal during induction, and therefore, many hospitals allow dentures to be removed immediately before intubation, as long as this is clearly documented.”
According to the authors, learning points from the incident include clearly documenting before and after any procedure the presence of any dentures or false teeth, with all members of the surgical team made aware of what is to be done with them.
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