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Cough in Adolescent Boys May Signal Aspirated Blowgun Dart
Instructions for making blowgun darts found on 20 websites, but only a few give safety warnings

MONDAY, July 22 (HealthDay News) -- Twenty websites have been identified that give instructions on how to make blowgun darts, but few offer safety warnings, and cases of adolescent boys who have accidentally aspirated the darts have been reported, according to a case report published online July 22 in Pediatrics.

Patrick C. Walz, M.D., of The Ohio State University in Columbus, and colleagues reported the largest case series to date, involving three adolescent boys presenting within a three-month period who accidentally aspirated homemade blowgun darts.

The researchers found that all three patients presented with cough and reported aspiration, and two of the three patients had wheezing. Two of the three patients initially hesitated to explain their predicament, but all eventually admitted constructing and inadvertently aspirating the blowgun dart. A needle-shaped, metallic foreign body was revealed on chest radiograph in all cases. In all three patients, the blowgun dart was removed using emergent rigid bronchoscopy, and symptoms resolved without complication. Twenty websites were identified that had instructions on how to make homemade blowgun darts. Only a few of the websites provided any safety warnings.

"Blowgun dart aspiration, although relatively uncommon, can have serious consequences," the authors write. "Certainly, a high index of suspicion for aspiration is necessary in the adolescent male population presenting with vague respiratory complaints. A low threshold for chest radiography in this population can assist in diagnosis."

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