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Emergency Medical Minute


Oct 27, 2018

Author: Aaron Lessen, MD

Educational Pearls:


  • Injuries from penetrating pharyngeal trauma  are often subtle on examination in children
  • Potentially serious complications including carotid artery injury, mediastinitis from spreading infection, or airway compromise from hematoma formation
  • Imaging choice is typically CTA to assess for vascular injuries
  • These injuries may require antibiotics




Zonfrillo MR, Roy AD, Walsh SA. Management of pediatric penetrating oropharyngeal trauma. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2008 Mar;24(3):172-5. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e3181669072. PubMed PMID: 18347498.

Sasaki T, Toriumi S, Asakage T, Kaga K, Yamaguchi D, Yahagi N. The toothbrush: a rare but potentially life-threatening cause of penetrating oropharyngeal trauma in children. Pediatrics. 2006 Oct;118(4):e1284-6. PubMed PMID: 17015515.

Summary by Travis Barlock, MS4  | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD