Paediatric ICU at the Hospital Clínico, Valladolid. / R. Otazo

Two-year-old dies in Valladolid after choking on cashew nuts

The little boy suffered a prolonged cardiorespiratory arrest and died in ICU two days after eating the snack. The family donated his organs


A two-year-old boy died on 23 July at the Hospital Clínico in Valladolid after choking on nuts. The little boy, who consumed several cashew nuts spent two days in the paediatric ICU but could not be saved. The incident happend in Baltanás, Palencia, on 21 July, from where the victim was transferred by helicopter after having been resuscitated and by medics from Emergencias-Sacyl at his home.

"Initially he was able to be recovered, but he had suffered a very prolonged cardiorespiratory arrest and could not overcome it. He spent two days in the paediatric ICU," explained health sources. The boy's family donated his organs.

The presence of foreign bodies in a child's airway is not a common occurence, but when it occurs it can have serious consequences, including death, according to the Spanish Society of Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery (Separ), which says children between one and four years old are at particular risk and also those between nine and 12 years old.

Mortality for this cause has been estimated at nine cases per 1,000 respiratory accidents due to foreign bodies in children. In 2000, it was the cause of 160 deaths and more than 17,000 emergency department visits in children under 14 years of age in the United States. Likewise, death by secondary asphyxia following foreign body aspiration is the fourth most common cause of accidental in Spain and the second most common cause of domestic death.

Ingested foreign bodies are usually nuts or seeds, as well as parts of toys or stones, while in children aged between 9 and 12 years of age, ingestion of pen caps, button batteries or metal objects is more frequent.