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South Med J. 1997 Feb;90(2):211-4.

Esophageal 'stars': a sinister foreign body ingestion.

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  • 1Department of Thoracic Surgery, Military Medical Academy, Sofia, Bulgaria.


This paper describes an "epidemic" of foreign body ingestion in six consecutive prisoners from the same jail. The resulting esophageal perforations won all patients "temporary vacations" from prison. The nature of the ingested foreign body (hypodermic needles fashioned into a "star") guaranteed perforation of the esophagus. All six patients had emergency esophagotomy for foreign body removal. In the only case of significant morbidity, suture line disruption with mediastinitis and empyema led to esophagectomy, cervical esophagostomy, and tube gastrostomy. This patient survived and subsequently had uncomplicated esophagocoloplasty. Foreign objects of this type have not been described in the literature. Because of their specific design, they necessitate immediate and aggressive surgical management.

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