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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Case Report Highlighting That Silica Gel Products Are Not Always Benign


Introduction: Silica gel packets are commonly used desiccants for medication products; these packets generally only pose a choking risk in young children. However, new cylindrical desiccant canisters have been developed, which may increase the risk for obstruction in adults.

Case Report: An elderly male presented to the emergency department complaining of difficulty swallowing after taking his morning medications. Through a diligent work-up a desiccant canister was found lodged in the lower esophageal sphincter. The patient was endotracheally intubated and a Roth Net retriever was used to remove the canister.

Conclusion: Cylindrical desiccant canisters pose an increased risk of esophageal obstruction.

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