London, Aug 13 (IANS) A 72-year-old British man spent eight days with his dentures – made up of a metal plate and three front teeth – stuck in his throat after he had a surgery, doctors here have said.
The man had surgery to remove a lump in his abdominal wall, but the operating team at a hospital neglected to take out his dentures before the operation.
According to a case report in the British Medical Journal on Monday, the man returned to the hospital six days later complaining of blood in his mouth and difficulties breathing and swallowing, which had prevented him from eating solid food.
Ultimately, more surgery was needed to resolve the problem.
Lead author Harriet Cunniffe, from James Paget Hospital in eastern England, called for surgeons to ensure dentures are removed from patients before an operation.
During the man’s first return to the emergency room, doctors were unable to diagnose the problem and he was sent home with a prescription for mouthwash, antibiotics and steroids.
But he returned two days later with worsening symptoms and was admitted to the hospital with suspected aspiration pneumonia — a severe chest infection, the report said.
Eventually a diagnostic procedure identified a semicircular object lying across his vocal cords, which had caused internal blistering and swelling.
The man, who said he had lost his dentures during his initial visit to hospital, was then rushed into surgery to remove the false teeth.
The authors of the study wrote: “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 (when the anaesthetic is being infused), and therefore many hospitals allow dentures to be removed immediately before intubation (when a tube is inserted into the airway to assist breathing).”
“This case highlights a number of important learning points… The first is to always listen to your patient. It has long been known that one gets the majority of the information needed to form a diagnosis based on the patients’ history,” they added.