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September 19, 1953


JAMA. 1953;153(3):235. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.02940200057016

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To the Editor:—  Several cases have been reported in which esophageal obstruction resulted from the use of one of the hygroscopic bulk laxatives. In every instance some of the ingested material lodged in the esophagus and formed a tenacious, sticky mass. An additional case seems worth describing, not only as a further warning concerning the use of such laxatives but, particularly, as a report of the prompt response to a method of treatment that, as far as I know, has not previously been tried.A 72-year-old white man was admitted to the North Carolina Baptist Hospital at 4 p. m. on April 7, 1953, because of an obstruction in the esophagus. For years he had been in the habit of taking Serutan. The manufacturer of Serutan states that it is a hydrogel obtained from Plantago ovata and extracted from sugar beets from which the roughage has been removed. At 10

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