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Am J Gastroenterol. 1997 Aug;92(8):1359-60.

Charcoal deposits in the esophageal and gastric mucosa.

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Department of Medicine, Hospital Garcia de Orta, Almada, Portugal.


We report the case of a 75-yr-old woman referred for gastrointestinal endoscopy to investigate severe iron deficiency anemia. Black linear lesions were observed in the distal esophagus and stomach. Biopsies revealed aggregates of coarse black foreign material, which was later identified as charcoal. The patient's previous medical history included an antidepressant overdose 5 yr before the current admission. The patient had a gastric lavage, using a large bore orogastric tube, followed by the administration of activated charcoal. The patient had no other history of charcoal ingestion. We propose that the charcoal became entrapped in mucosal tears caused by the traumatic intubation 5 yr previously, causing the incidental mucosal tattooing seen at endoscopy.

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