Research Article| Volume 37, ISSUE 2, P260-262, March 2023

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Pill Ingestion and Caustic Laryngeal Injury

  • Kayla E. Pfaff
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to Kayla E. Pfaff, Department of Department of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery, Stanford University, 801 Welch Road, Stanford, CA 94035.
    Division of Laryngology, Department of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery, Stanford University Medical center, Stanford, California
    Search for articles by this author
  • Edward J. Damrose
    Division of Laryngology, Department of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery, Stanford University Medical center, Stanford, California
    Search for articles by this author
Published:January 16, 2021DOI:



      To highlight an unusual mechanism of laryngeal injury.


      Case report and literature review.


      A 66-year-old male ingested an over-the-counter preparation of bile acids as a dietary supplement. The capsule lodged in the patient's pharynx, and he sustained a caustic injury to the supraglottic and glottic larynx. His injury was managed conservatively, and his symptoms gradually resolved over a period of 8 weeks. A follow-up laryngoscopy at 8 weeks and 6 months showed no signs of injury. A barium swallow at 8 weeks was normal at that time and videostroboscopy results normalized with resolution of the injury as well.


      Caustic injury to the upper aerodigestive tract from pill ingestion is uncommon, and laryngeal injury even less so. Urgent evaluation should be undertaken, and appropriate therapies instituted promptly. Laryngeal injury can respond to conservative therapy, but there is a lack of clinical information to evaluate optimum treatment of this unusual injury.

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