A review of optimal evaluation and treatment of suspected esophageal food impaction
Emerg Radiol . 2021 Apr;28(2):401-407. doi: 10.1007/s10140-020-01855-5.
MeNore Lake, David Smoot, Peter O'Halloran, Michael Shortsleeve
Fluoroscopy-guided esophageal disimpaction of ingested food is a safe, effective, and cost-efficient alternative to endoscopically guided disimpaction. Patients with suspected esophageal impaction usually require fluoroscopy to confirm the diagnosis and determine the level of obstruction, which guides further management. Proximal esophageal food impactions at or near the cricopharyngeus muscle require an ENT intervention. Food impactions from the cervical esophagus to the aortic arch require a GI intervention. Obstructions distal to the aortic arch can usually be managed by the radiologist with a fluoroscopy-guided disimpaction. The use of intravenous glucagon to relax the mid and distal esophageal smooth muscle, combined with an effervescent agent, and water comprises this "combination" therapy to relieve an acute esophageal food impaction. This paper reviews the indications, contraindications, technique, and 32 years of experience with fluoroscopy-guided esophageal disimpaction at our institution. A retrospective chart review of our experience includes 252 patients with a 56% success rate that obviated more expensive and invasive procedures. Only one complication of a minor mucosal tear of no clinical consequence was encountered. Radiologists should be familiar with the presentation and management of this common diagnosis.
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