Education And Debate

Radiographs and aluminium: a pitfall for the unwary

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6938.1226 (Published 07 May 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1226
  1. D M Bradburn,
  2. H F Carra,
  3. I Renwick
  1. Department of Surgery, Medical School, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH.
  2. aDepartments of Surgery and Radiology, Middlesbrough General Hospital, Middlesbrough, Cleveland TS5 5AZ
  1. Correspondence to: Dr
  • Accepted 30 November 1993

Ingestion of radio-opaque foreign bodies is common. We highlight the need for a careful radiological examination and endoscopy if symptoms of obstruction persist.

Case report

A 70 year old man presented to the local hospital while on holiday, having accidentally swallowed part of the metallic tab of a soft drinks can. He complained of retrosternal discomfort and pain on swallowing. Plain radiographs of the chest and neck showed no foreign body and he was consequently discharged.

On returning home he consulted his general practitioner, who referred him to another accident and emergency department, where plain radiographs again showed no abnormality. After four months of persistent retrosternal …

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