In a rare case, mouth-freshener lands Mumbai’s octogenarian in hospital

Madanlal Chordia complained of breathlessness and cough after he accidentally swallowed a betel nut (supari) at his granddaughter’s wedding. However, with timely treatment, his life was saved

Madanlal Chordia (82), an octogenarian form Mumbai had a very close call of his life. What, he thought a common old age breathlessness, turned out to be a very serious health issue. Ghatkopar resident Chordia was shocked when his doctor told him that his breathlessness was due to a piece of supari (betel nut, also known as areca nut), which was stuck in his lungs.
Mouth-Freshener lands Mumbai's Octogenarian in Hospital
Madanlal Chordia (82), an octogenarian from Mumbai, had a very close call in his life. What he thought as a usual old age breathlessness turned out to be a serious health issue

On enquiry, the doctor found out that Chordia had accidentally swallowed the supari, an ingredient of a mouth freshener he consumed at his granddaughter’s wedding in Jaipur.

“Initially Chordia came to me complaining of severe breathlessness and cough. As he was unable to breath, we got him admitted in ICU. After CT scan, we found that something was stuck inside the lungs and we thought it could be a tumour. After bronchoscopy procedure, it seemed like an almond,” said Dr Gautam Bhansali, Consultant Physician at Bombay Hospital in Marine Lines.

On February 22, a team of doctors, led by Dr Pratibha Singhal, a Chest Physician, along with Dr Pradnya Kulkarni, an Anaesthetist and Dr Bhansali successfully performed second bronchoscopy procedure and safely removed the supari from the chest.

“We struggled for almost four hours as it was difficult to remove the supari. It was a very hard tissue. We were supposed to handle it with utmost care because it was stuck in the chest. We used different types of forces to break that into pieces. Our concern was that if we apply even slight extra force than required, then it could have led to bleeding and ultimately, death. So, it was indeed an extremely high-risk procedure,” explained Bhansali.

Bronchoscopy is a procedure which allows doctors to examine your airways. Doctors insert a small camera-mounted thread, made of a flexible fiber-optic through the nose, down to the throat to reach the lungs. So, doctors can see what object is stuck inside the lungs.

“Any kind of hard substance, which is stuck inside the lungs for longer period, can lead to infection, suffocation and even death due to hypoxia. It is a rarity in senior citizens, as most cases are related to young children.

Timely diagnosis and treatment saved Chordia’s life.

His son Mahendra said, “We were in Jaipur for the wedding. Initially, he complained of cough and breathing problem, so we assumed that it was because of old age. But, when we came back to Mumbai on February 14, his breathlessness and coughing became intense, so we immediately rushed him to the hospital.”

“My father does not have any other health issues, except a few years ago when suffered a paralysis attack. We were really worried about his health when we came to know that a supari was stuck in his lungs. Now, we have breathed a sigh of relief,” added Mahendra.