Stunning CT scan shows a 1cm-long chicken bone lodged in a man’s airways

The 78-year-old choked on a piece of chicken and went straight to hospital as he was worried there was some poultry stuck in his throat. A CT scan shows a small chicken bone lodged in the airways of an elderly Australian man – and it went unnoticed for five days.

His fears were initially settled when two X-rays revealed no signs of the chicken and doctors in Clayton, Victoria sent him home. But five days later, he returned to the same emergency department with shortness of breath and a wheezing sound when he inhaled.

Doctors at Monash Medical Centre published the man’s tale – and a copy of his scan – in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. A CT scan then revealed a chicken vertebra bone stuck in the unnamed man’s right mainstem bronchus – which branches into the lung.

The man was discharged three days after recovering well from surgery to remove the chicken bone, LiveScience reports. Doctors at Monash Medical Centre published the man’s tale – and a copy of his scan – in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.

The case comes after MailOnline broke the news of doctors discovering a tiny toy cone in the airways of a 50-year-old British man. Specialists at the Royal Preston Hospital explained how a mass they suspected to be cancer proved to be a Playmobil cone he inhaled as a toddler.

They published their bizarre tale in the BMJ Case Reports, and claimed the 40 years it went unnoticed is the longest time in medical history. Writing in the journal, they said it was likely Paul Baxter went symptomless for so long because of the age at which he inhaled the cone.

As Mr Baxter, of Croston, Lancashire, aged, his airways would have moulded round the foreign body, the team explained. It is most common for young children to aspirate foreign objects – but adults can also experience food ‘going down the wrong way’.

The problem is usually spotted quickly as it causes breathing problems. Though, it can go unnoticed if it doesn’t cause any symptoms. Dr Robert Glatter, an emergency medic at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told LiveScience that inhaling objects can prove deadly.

He explained how a delayed diagnosis – which Dr Glatter said wasn’t unreasonable in the Australian man’s case – can lead to pneumonia. CT scans are known to be more powerful than X-rays and provide radiologists with a more detailed image of organs and bones.


It comes after MailOnline broke the news in September of a Lancashire postman who inhaled a toy cone that was lodged in his lung for 40 years. Paul Baxter was suspected to have cancer after doctors found a mass in his lungs. But it was found to be a tiny Playmobil cone he inhaled as a toddler.

Mr Baxter, from Lancashire, had his bizarre tale published in the BMJ Case Reports. MailOnline also told of a case report in December, which revealed a 14-month-old girl inhaled an LED bulb that was originally used as a decoration on her family’s Christmas tree.

The French baby, whose name is unknown, suffered from coughing and wheezing in the run-up to Christmas last year. The tale was published in Respiratory Medicine Case Reports. And in March, MailOnline revealed a student was left with a persistent cough after a piece of his jawbone became stuck in his airways following a car crash.

Doctors in Kitakyush – 633 miles south west of the capital Tokyo – suggested he inhaled it when he temporarily lost consciousness. The tale was published in the BMJ Case Reports.

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