Transient ischaemic attack caused by an ingested stingray barb

Desmond C C Gan, Ravi L Huilgol and Mark J Westcott
Med J Aust 2008; 189 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2008.tb02236.x
Published online: 1 December 2008

A 76-year-old woman reported a fishbone stuck in her throat, but no foreign body was identified. Eight weeks later, she experienced a transient ischaemic attack, and a stingray barb was subsequently removed from the right common carotid artery. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the migration of an ingested stingray barb.

While holidaying in Queensland, a 76-year-old woman presented to an emergency department, reporting a fishbone stuck in her throat after a meal of snapper. A neck x-ray showed a vague 1 cm linear opacity. She was referred to an ear, nose and throat surgeon who performed a laryngoscopy and rigid oesophagoscopy under general anaesthesia. This revealed bruising to the right hypopharynx without mucosal trauma, but no foreign body was identified. The patient was discharged the following day, and subsequently returned home to Victoria.

  • Desmond C C Gan1
  • Ravi L Huilgol2
  • Mark J Westcott3

  • Department of Vascular Surgery, St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.



We thank Mr Jeffrey Johnson, Collection Manager of Ichthyology at the Queensland Museum, who identified the stingray barb.

Competing interests:

None identified.


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