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Intentional swallowing of foreign bodies and its impact on the cost of health care
Date:10/31/2010

ates, "Our study shows that intentional ingestion of foreign bodies is a relatively common event at our hospital. Intentional, rather than accidental, swallowing is a poorly recognized and underappreciated problem which is potentially avoidable. A small number of patients, many of whom suffer from co-morbid psychiatric diagnoses, were responsible for over 300 foreign body swallowing cases, and more than two million dollars in hospital and physician costs." He adds, "Endoscopy was very safe and highly successful in retrieving the swallowed objects, and minor complications occurred in only 11 cases."

Moss reports that 58 percent of the patients were male while 42 percent were female and the mean age for the patients at the time of ingestion was 35. One patient was solely responsible for 67 of the 305 cases, while four patients accounted for 179 cases. More than half of the patients (53 percent) were admitted from residential institutions, mostly from a state-run chronic psychiatric inpatient facility. Thirty-eight percent of the patients were from private homes in the community, while nine percent were from prison. More than half of the patients were diagnosed with a mood disorder, while others suffered from anxiety, substance abuse, psychotic or impulse control disorders.

Co-author Colin Harrington, MD, a psychiatrist in the department of psychiatry at Rhode Island Hospital, explains, "The reasons for foreign body ingestion vary and it is one of many forms of self-injurious behavior. Foreign body ingestion can be a behavioral element of cognitive disorders, mental retardation syndromes, psychotic disorders, and mood disorders. Various personality disorder diagnoses are also associated with foreign body ingestion where motivations are thought to include communication of internal distress, acting out due to anger, or even manipulation of the environment with a related secondary gain, such as transfer out of chronic institutional settings like prison
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Contact: Nancy Cawley Jean
njean@lifespan.org
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

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