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July 21, 1951


Author Affiliations

Danville, Pa.

From the Department of Radiology, George F. Geisinger Memorial Hospital and Clinic.

JAMA. 1951;146(12):1129-1131. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.63670120005009b

In the course of hospital practice of radiology it is not uncommon to find obstruction of the esophagus in patients who have symptoms of brief duration. The commonest non-neoplastic obstruction is that resulting from impaction of meat or some other foreign body. The finding of obstruction of the lower end of the esophagus following the ingestion of the proprietary preparation known as serutan® is unique in our experience. In 1937 and also in 1939 saraka® (a hygroscopic gum laxative) was reported as causing esophageal obstruction.1 Since that time we have seen no reports of such cases in the literature.

Serutan,® a bland granular hygroscopic substance, which is widely used as a remedy for constipation, is said by the manufacturers to be a hydrogel derived from Plantago ovata and extracted sugar beets from which the roughage has been removed. Apparently, serutan® owes its laxative properties to its gelatinous, spongy character

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