Podcast 747: Food Impaction - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast 747: Food Impaction

Contributor: Ricky Dhaliwal, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Esophageal food impaction can be managed in the ED prior to calling GI for endoscopy
  • Coca-cola, glucagon, benzodiazepines, calcium channel blockers, and dissolved nitroglycerin are all options to try
  • For pediatric patients, weighted bougies can be used under sedation to attempt retrieval of the food bolus
  •  Always evaluate airway status, especially if the patient cannot maintain secretions


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

Khayyat YM. Pharmacological management of esophageal food bolus impaction. Emerg Med Int. 2013;2013:924015. doi:10.1155/2013/924015

Schimmel J, Slauson S. Swallowed Nitroglycerin to Treat Esophageal Food Impaction. Ann Emerg Med. 2019;74(3):462-463. doi:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2019.04.003

Summarized by John Spartz, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD


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