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Aspiration of the Nasal Septum: A New Complication of Cocaine Abuse

Daniel M. Libby, MD; Ludwig Klein, MD; and Nasser K. Altorki, MD
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

Requests for Reprints: Daniel M. Libby, MD, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, 407 East 70th Street, New York, NY 10021.

Current Author Addresses: Dr. Libby: 407 East 70 Street, New York, NY 10021.

Dr. Altorki: Cardiothoracic Surgery, 525 East 68 Street, New York, NY 10021.

Dr. Klein: Cardiology Division, 215 East 72 Street, New York, NY 10021.

Ann Intern Med. 1992;116(7):567-568. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-116-7-567
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This excerpt has been provided in the absence of an abstract.

Altered mental status ranging from psychosis to coma occurs in over a quarter of patients presenting to emergency departments after use of cocaine and is second in frequency only to cardiopulmonary complaints (1, 2). Depression of the sensorium is an important risk factor for aspiration of foreign bodies into the tracheobronchial tree. Although the initial symptoms of cough, choking, gagging, and airway obstruction often lead to the correct diagnosis, an asymptomatic stage may follow when adaption to chronic stimulation of airway reflexes by the foreign body cause the diagnosis to be overlooked. Chronic cough, intractable wheezing, hemoptysis, postobstructive pneumonia, and


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