Author:Otto Louis-Jacques, MDPediatric specialists of Virginia, Fairfax, Virginia

Citation:Louis-Jacques O.Foreign body ingestion of a beverage can tab.

You are watching: What happens if you swallow a metal soda can tab

Consultant. 2018;58(2):92-94.

A14-year-old boy presented to an exterior urgent treatment facility after having actually accidentally swallowed part of the metallic opening mechanism of one aluminum beverage can. The patient was in the habit the separating the 2 components of the metallic opener native the can, specific the pull-tab and the flat, circular, scored part of the lid that folds inside the deserve to as one lifts the tab. After doing so, he had actually placed the pull-tab within his mouth and also had placed the circular part around his reduced lip.

As the laughed, he had actually accidentally choked ~ above the piece of the soda can tab. He had been able to sneeze up the pull-tab yet felt the other component go down his throat. The subsequently had actually felt pain in the throat and a persistent foreign body sensation, and he had been taken to the urgent treatment facility.

While there, he had eaten part of a sandwich, after i beg your pardon the pain in his throat and the international body sensation had actually resolved. He had actually no vomiting, hematemesis, an obstacle breathing, or cough, and also he denied having abdominal muscle pain. His an important signs and physical check findings were normal. Radiographs that the neck, chest, and abdomen were acquired at the urgent treatment facility and did not show any foreign body (Figure 1).


The clinicians at the urgent care facility consulted v a pediatric gastroenterologist at our facility. Because the patient’s history was clearly indicative of foreign body ingestion, and also because aluminum soda deserve to tabs space not always visible on level radiographs since of their low density, us advised the the patience be transferred to ours institution.

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An abdominal radiography series was performed in ~ our institution 5 hours after the initial radiographs had actually been taken in ~ the urgent care facility. The brand-new films showed a 2.5-cm straight metallic density projecting end the left element of the L3 vertebral body, suspiciously for a foreign body (Figure 2). Since of the potential for injury come the gastrointestinal street mucosa indigenous the sharp edges the the soda can tab, the patient underwent immediate endoscopy, and the metallic object was found in the proximal part of the stomach (Figure 3). The was eliminated uneventfully via endoscopy, and the patient ultimately was discharged home.