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Emergency Medical Minute


Aug 25, 2020

Contributor: Aaron Lessen, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Carbonated beverages have shown efficacy in helping patients spontaneously pass esophageal food impactions
  • Glucagon, while historically used for treatment, has been shown to have significant side effects without any clinical benefit
  • Definitive treatment is with endoscopy performed typically by a  gastroenterologist


Long B, Koyfman A, Gottlieb M. Esophageal Foreign Bodies and Obstruction in the Emergency Department Setting: An Evidence-Based Review. J Emerg Med. 2019;56(5):499-511. doi:10.1016/j.jemermed.2019.01.025

Peksa GD, DeMott JM, Slocum GW, Burkins J, Gottlieb M. Glucagon for Relief of Acute Esophageal Foreign Bodies and Food Impactions: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Pharmacotherapy. 2019;39(4):463-472. doi:10.1002/phar.2236

Akram J, Amin FM, Toft JG, Rømeling F. Håndtering af fremmedlegeme i øsofagus med synkestop [Treatment of foreign body impactions in oesophagus]. Ugeskr Laeger. 2013;175(10):640-643.

Summarized by Jackson Roos, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD