European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 264, Issue 4, pp 329–335 | Cite as

Is current UK management of oesophageal food bolus obstruction evidence based? An e-mail survey and literature review

  • T. PriceEmail author
  • S. E. M. Jones
  • P. Q. Montgomery
Review Article


There is a great deal of variation in individual management of non-sharp oesophageal food bolus obstruction in the United Kingdom. An e-mail survey of consultants and specialist registrars in ENT was carried out to establish current UK practice. A review of the published literature was under-taken to establish whether current practice is evidence based. The majority of practitioners (95%) do not proceed immediately to rigid oesophagoscopy but use antispasmodic drugs (83%), most commonly hyoscine butylbromide (Buscopan®) and diazepam, to try to induce spontaneous passage of the obstruction. There is currently no evidence in the published literature to support the use of these drugs. The use of Buscopan seems to have been encouraged by a misquoted reference in a prominent ENT textbook. Better evidence is needed to establish the best form of treatment for this relatively common problem.


Oesophagus Dysphagia Diazepam Scopolamine Glucagon 



The authors would like to thank Bridget Cole and John Losasso from the Sir Thomas Browne Library, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for their expert help with the literature searches and in obtaining the relevant publications.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Price
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • S. E. M. Jones
    • 1
  • P. Q. Montgomery
    • 1
  1. 1.Norfolk and Norwich University HospitalNorwichUK
  2. 2.LoughtonUK

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