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BMJ. 2007 December 22; 335(7633): 1281.
PMCID: PMC2151173

Champagne: the safer choice for celebrations

Robert J Douglas, registrar1

A 24 year old Australian rules football player presented to the emergency department complaining of a sensation of a foreign body stuck in his throat. The sensation was associated “with an inability to breathe properly.” Earlier that day, when celebrating his team’s victory in the premiership, he had downed the remaining beer in the premiership cup, inadvertently swallowing a beer bottle cap.

Physical examination, radiography, and fibreoptic examination of the neck and throat were unremarkable. An anteroposterior chest radiogram showed a round metallic foreign body with scalloped edges at the level of the aortic arch (figure(figure).). Blood ethanol level was 0.109 g/100 ml. A beer bottle cap was retrieved via endoscopy later that evening, without complications.

figure dour523175.f1
Anteroposterior chest x ray film showing an impacted beer bottle cap at the level of the aortic arch

Excessive alcohol consumption as a celebratory consequence of high profile sporting victories is well known. Oesophageal obstruction from a bottle cap, however, is rarely seen in emergency departments.1 2 In suspected cases, airways obstruction and injury should be rapidly excluded.

A comprehensive Medline search failed to elicit an example of oesophageal obstruction secondary to the ingestion of a champagne (or wine) cork. Since the 18th century, champagne has been the beverage of choice for celebrations3 and on current evidence should remain so.

Notes

Competing interests: None declared.

Provenance and peer review: Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

References

1. Prakash K, Rosario PG, Kim S. Esophageal obstruction from a beerbottle cap. N Engl J Med 1989;321:121-2.
2. Rottman SJ, Lindsay KL, Kuritzkes R. Of college fads, bottle caps, and esophageal obstruction. Ann Emerg Med 1988;17:869. [PubMed]
3. Montagne P. Larousse gastronomique London: Hamlyn Group, 2001:242.

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