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News Americas

Chest and abdominal radiographs showed a butter knife at the end of the patient's esophagus. (Photo: The New England Journal of Medicine, 2012)
Aug 13, 2012 | News Americas

Woman accidentally swallows knife

by Surgical Tribune

ATLANTA, Ga., USA: Recently, a young woman was taken to a U.S. emergency department where doctors had to remove a butter knife from her esophagus. The woman claimed that she had swallowed the knife by accident when dining with friends.

As reported by the New England Journal of Medicine, the 30-year-old has a history of bulimia and inserted the knife into her posterior oropharynx in order to demonstrate to some friends that she no longer had a gag reflex. According to the case report, the woman laughed unexpectedly and the knife migrated into her esophagus, which caused severe chest discomfort and hematemesis.

After hospitalization, chest and abdominal X-rays were taken. The doctors found that the knife was located in the distal esophagus and proximal stomach, without evidence of lung injury, the document states. It was removed through an endoscopic procedure.

According to the report, the woman soon resumed eating without complication and the incident caused no major damage to the patient's esophagus and stomach.

The woman's husband later informed the medical staff that, four years earlier, his wife had swallowed a knife that required surgical removal with exploratory laparotomy.

The doctors recommended consultation with a psychiatrist and the patient was later transferred to an inpatient psychiatric unit, the report stated.

The case was reported by the Emory University School of Medicine and was published online in the Aug. 2 issue of the journal.

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