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July 28, 1975

Beverage Can Pull-TabsInadvertent Ingestion or Aspiration

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Radiology, McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University (Dr. Rogers), and the Department of Surgery, Stritch School of Medicine of Loyola University (Dr. Igini), Chicago.

JAMA. 1975;233(4):345-348. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03260040039021

Potential medical hazards are involved in the procedure of dropping the "pull-tab" into an aluminum beverage can before drinking the contents. We have seen two cases of inadvertent ingestion and one of inadvertent aspiration of the pull-tab. One of the patients who had ingested a pull-tab required endoscopic extraction of the pull-tab from the esophagus, and the patient who had inhaled a pull-tab required an open thoracotomy for removal of the foreign body from the bronchus. Aluminum is not as dense or radiopaque as other metals and is, therefore, frequently difficult to identify on standard roentgenograms.

(JAMA 233:345-348, 1975)