Foreign body aspiration score (FOBAS)—a prospectively validated algorithm for the management and prediction of foreign body aspiration in children

Shani Pozailov, Aviv Goldbart, Micha Aviram, Michal S. Maimon, Yotam Dizitzer Hillel, Dvir Gatt, Inbal Raviv, Shir Avraham, Or Kaplan, Sergey Tsaregorodtsev, Inbal Golan-Tripto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Foreign body aspiration (FBA) is a common cause of pediatric morbidity, but a standardized protocol to guide decision-making about bronchoscopy is lacking. We aimed to validate a new Foreign body aspiration score (FOBAS) for the pediatric emergency department (ED). Patients aged 0–18 years referred to the ED for suspected FBA were prospectively enrolled. FOBAS was calculated according to clinical features of a choking episode, sudden cough, exposure to nuts, absence of fever and rhinitis, stridor, and unilateral auscultatory and radiological findings. FBA risk was evaluated based on the total score (low, 1–3; moderate, 4–6; high, 7–10). Low-risk children were discharged from the ED and followed clinically. Moderate-risk children were hospitalized and evaluated by a pediatric pulmonologist, and high-risk children were referred directly for therapeutic bronchoscopy. Among the 100 enrolled children (59% males; median age 20 [interquartile range 11–39] months), a foreign body was diagnosed in 1/49 (2%), 14/41 (34.1%), and 9/10 (90%) with low, moderate, and high FOBAS, respectively (P <.001). Logistic regression indicated a higher risk for FBA with higher scores. The odds ratio for each additional point was 2.75 (95% confidence interval 1.78–4.24), and FOBAS showed a high predictive value for FBA (area under the curve 0.89). FOBAS implementation significantly reduced the rate of negative bronchoscopies, from 67.4% annually during 2016–2019 to 50% in 2020 (P =.042). Conclusion: FOBAS reliably predicts FBA in cases of suspected FBA and improves management and in-hospital decision-making. What is Known: • Foreign body aspiration is a major cause of pediatric morbidity and mortality. • Currently, there is no unified protocol for children referred to the emergency department for suspected FBA, therefore, a well-defined algorithm is needed to improve the decision-making process. What is New: • The pediatric Foreign body aspiration score (FOBAS) is a new, prospectively validated clinical score that shows high sensitivity and specificity for the presence of FBA in children. • FOBAS reduces unnecessary admissions and invasive procedures and leads to better clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2023


  • Algorithm
  • Children
  • Flexible bronchoscopy
  • Foreign body aspiration
  • Rigid bronchoscopy
  • Scoring system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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