Ex army officer from Gurgaon undergoes surgery to remove a piece of mutton kebab he had swallowed , which was choking him

Ex army officer from Gurgaon undergoes surgery to remove a piece of mutton kebab he had swallowed , which was choking him

GURGAON,May11: A 69-year-old former Army officer underwent what doctors described as a “one of a kind” surgery to remove a piece of mutton seekh kebab, which had blocked his windpipe after he had swallowed it whole.

The surgery was described as unique because the six-inch kebab piece was eventually extracted from the windpipe (trachea) with the help of anabdominal laparoscopic grasper, a tool used in gall bladder removal surgeries, after the conventional method failed.

Major Rajinder (retired) had nearly choked to death on the kebab that he was having at his Gurgaon home on Tuesday. Shashidhar Tatavarthy, senior ENT consultant (surgery), Artemis Hospitals, said Rajinder was unable to speak and barely breathed when he was wheeled into emergency as passage of air to the lungs was completely blocked.

Immediately after he was brought to the emergency room (ER), surgeons began a tracheostomy, a life-saving procedure in which an artificial passage of air is created to restore breathing. This is done by surgically opening a hole in the neck up to the trachea.

But in Rajinder’s case, tracheostomy proved inadequate, surgeons said, as kebab was large enough to also obstruct the artificial passage. This posed a huge challenge for surgeons and anaesthetists. The hospital said even ENT instruments were of limited use because of the critical nature of the blockage. The doctors then resorted to an out-of-the-box technique, and an abdominal laparoscopic grasper was used to remove the seekh kebab from the windpipe.

According to Dr Tatavarthy, it is a well-established fact that gulping seekh kebabs can trigger severe cases of choking in trachea, and people usually do not survive it. “Past cases, published in the UK, revealed that such kind of choking has had calamitous outcome with patients getting no time to reach hospital,” he said, adding that timely arrival at the hospital, coordination between anaesthetists and ENT specialists and some innovative thinking saved the life of the patient.

 Smaller foreign bodies, Tatavarthy said, could sometimes be removed by exerting pressure on the patient’s chest. But in Rajinder’s case, there was no other option but to be removed the kebab endoscopically. “No doubt a kebab is food worth dying for, but I never anticipated it this way,” Tatavarthy said.
Entry of foreign particles into the airways is extremely uncomfortable and stimulates immediate gag and coughing reflexes, said an ENT surgeon of at another city hospital. “If these actions fail to clear the material, it may become lodged in and obstruct the trachea, causing choking. Even if you don’t choke, the food that makes its way down the trachea into your lungs can lead to a very serious case of pneumonia,” the doctor said.
Shweta Gogia, associate consultant, department of ENT at Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, added, “A large chunk of food getting stuck in airways is definitely rare. Sometimes, people drink while having food, and gulp it down without chewing it. We have seen many cases of foreign objects such as hairpins getting stuck in airways. It calls for an emergency treatment.”
Doctors said Rajinder was under long-term treatment for an unrelated medical condition, which they didn’t reveal. He is out of danger now and will be discharged soon.
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