A 47-year-old British patient, whose name was not published, was a long-standing smoker and had a cough for more than a year and suspected of having lung cancer, received good but certainly news after the doctors had initiated a procedure to investigate a pulmonary mass in his lungs.
But during his bronchoscopy doctors found no signs of cancer. Instead, they found a small Playmobil in his respiratory tract, leading to a diagnosis called “Tracheobronchial Foreign Body Aspiration” (TFB).
In the BMJ Case Reports, doctors reveal this unique case. According to the report, the patient regularly remembers playing or even swallowing Playmobil sets during his childhood. He remembered that he had received the whole thing on his seventh birthday, 40 years ago.
Four months after the surgery, they reported that the man’s cough was “almost completely resolved. It is positive that his symptoms have improved significantly and he finally found his Playmobil signal cone at the last place he would watch,” they write.
Physicians point out that the aspiration of small objects is more common in children than in adults, and if so, children are usually diagnosed within one week. Anyhow, the case in which the onset of symptoms happens so long after the initial aspiration is unidentified in the literature.
Authors say, “This is why our patient is unique in supporting a TFB for over 40 years and that’s why the event occurred when he was 7 years old”.