February 1970

Meat Impaction of the Esophagus

Author Affiliations

Shreveport, La; Washington, DC

From the Louisiana State University School of Medicine in Shreveport (Dr. Hargrove) and Walter Reed General Hospital, Washington, DC (Dr. Boyce).

Arch Intern Med. 1970;125(2):277-281. doi:10.1001/archinte.1970.00310020083008

A common anatomic abnormality leading to meat impaction of the esophagus is hiatal hernia, which is often associated with a ring or stricture. Intermittent dysphagia is a predisposing factor. Many patients either have no teeth or use dentures. There is often a history of overindulgence in drinking alcoholic beverages at the time the bolus is swallowed. Enzymatic digestion of impacted meat generally is a safe and effective method of therapy and is to be preferred initially to direct endoscopic removal. At times it may not be effective, especially when other types of food have been swallowed with the meat. Esophageal lavage helps to resolve this problem. Complete roentgenographic and endoscopic studies should be performed at some stage of the management to insure accurate diagnosis of the cause of obstruction. Periodic follow-up evaluation is recommended in every patient.