A challenging case of tracheal foreign body retrieval following COVID-19 swabbing

Submitted: July 14, 2021
Accepted: September 22, 2021
Published: December 3, 2021
Abstract Views: 1358
PDF: 426
Publisher's note
All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article or claim that may be made by its manufacturer is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.


The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a significant increase in the number of tracheostomised patients in hospitals requiring ventilatory support. These patients require highly specialist care, but overwhelmed hospital systems with stretched human resources potentially leave these patients cared for by undertrained healthcare professionals. We describe a rare complication where a routine COVID-19 swab done incorrectly via a tracheostomy tube, resulted in a snapped-off swab in the trachea. We outline the events and our method of removal using rigid bronchoscopy through the tracheostomy stoma as endo-tracheal bronchoscopy was impossible due to significant sub-glottic stenosis. This case highlights the paramount importance of the unique care needed to safely manage tracheostomies during this ongoing pandemic.



PlumX Metrics


Download data is not yet available.


WHO. Coronvavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard. Available from: https://covid19.who.int
GOV.UK. Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK. Available from: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/healthcare
Hussain MH, Siddiqui S, Mahmood S. Tracheal swab from front of neck airway for SARS-CoV-2; a bronchial foreign body. BMJ Case Reports 2020;13:e237787. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/bcr-2020-237787
Sharma A, Barnes N, Madden BP. Rigid bronchoscopy safety and outcomes – A single centre retrospective analysis. Poster presented at BTS Winter Meeting 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/thorax-2020-BTSabstracts.44

How to Cite

May, James, Katrina Mason, Parag Patel, and Brendan Madden. 2021. “A Challenging Case of Tracheal Foreign Body Retrieval Following COVID-19 Swabbing”. Monaldi Archives for Chest Disease 92 (3). https://doi.org/10.4081/monaldi.2021.2014.