Endoscopy as an Aid in Diagnosis and Treatment
Although endoscopy has been developed comparatively recently, it has firmly established itself as an almost indispensable method in the diagnosis and treatment of many hitherto inaccessible conditions. It has made great strides since its advent some thirty-five years ago.
The most spectacular use of the endoscope, especially in the eyes of the laity, has been in the removal of foreign bodies from the food and air passages. Before its conception, these patients either had to dislodge the foreign bodies themselves or submit to daring and dangerous surgery, or the condition was regarded as hopeless. Yet even today when it is generally known that bronchoscopy and esophagoscopy are the surest means of removing such foreign bodies, many cases are not diagnosed soon enough and some patients are treated too long by the watchful waiting method. It is often true that when a small piece of bone is swallowed, the mucosa is scratched in passing. This leaves the patient with the sensation of some obstruction, and the act of swallowing produces pain at the site of the scratch. Such patients should soon become asymptomatic. The safest procedure in such instances is to immediately make a roentgen examination of the esophagus both with and without barium. If the symptoms persist for more than 48 hours, the patient should be examined with the esophagoscope. Within the past year a young girl came into one of the State University Hospitals complaining of severe hemorrhage from the mouth and tarry stools. She said a chicken bone. . .