Case Report: Swallowed toothbrush in the stomach of a 56 year female at St Mary’s Hospital Lacor, Uganda
Okello, Tom Richard
Ogwang, David Martin
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Toothbrush swallowing is a rare occurrence. Toothbrush swallowing presents a risk of impaction and perforation along the gastrointestinal tract. This case report describes a 56 year old female that presented to the emergency unit of St Mary’s Hospital Lacor with a 1 day history of chest pain after a toothbrush was pushed down her throat by a traditional healer who was managing her for pharyngitis. The chest pain was associated with difficulty in breathing. She also reported dull abdominal pain. There was no history of vomiting or drooling of saliva. On examination, we found that she was in pain and had respiratory distress with a respiratory rate of 32 breath/ min and was using accessory muscles. There was no oedema, aneamia or jaundice. Blood pressure of 120/80 mmHg and pulse rate of 87 beats/ min. The abdominal findings were normal, but ultrasound scan suggested that the toothbrush was in the stomach. The plain erect abdominal x-ray was inconclusive. She was admitted to the ward for conservative management. After 2 weeks we decided to do exploratory laparotomy and we found the toothbrush in the stomach, that we removed and closed the abdomen in layers. Post-operatively the patient recovered uneventfully on the ward. Toothbrush swallowing is a rare occurrence. The commonest foreign bodies ingested by adults are bones, spoons and dentures. Toothbrush ingestion occurs commonly among patients with psychiatric conditions like bulimia or anorexia nervosa, schizophrenia and bezoar. Most swallowed toothbrushes have been found in the esophagus or the stomach of affected patients. Most people who swallowed their toothbrushes did so entirely without erotic intent, as with this case where the patient had the brush pushed down her throat by a traditional healer. This is the first case of toothbrush swallowing in this hospital.
- Medical and Health Sciences