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Grilled Meat Danger in Rhode Island Requires Life-Saving Surgery

Tim Boyer's picture
Grilled meat

In the new issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology, radiologist David Grand, M.D. reports that during an 18-month period, Rhode Island Hospital physicians were presented with six cases of accidental ingestion of a foreign object lodged in their patient’s grilled meat. The foreign object? Short pieces of fine, yet stiff metal wire.

According to Doctor Grand, a review of patient histories revealed that all six patients had cleaned their grills using a wire brush just before grilling, and all had been admitted to the emergency department within 24 hours after eating the grilled meat complaining of either painful swallowing in the mouth and esophagus or of abdominal pain.

Of the six patients, three presented with odynophagia (painful swallowing) and three with severe abdominal pain. Radiologic and/or computed tomography (CT) scan examinations revealed that those diagnosed with odynophagia had wire bristles lodged in their necks, which were subsequently successfully removed via non-surgical endoscopic techniques.

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Of the three patients with abdominal pain, two had wire bristles that had perforated their small intestine, while the third had wire bristles that perforated through the stomach and into the liver. All three had major surgery and recovered from their accidental ingestion.

According to a statement by Dr. Grand, “Although foreign body ingestion is not a rare complaint in an emergency department, it is striking that in only 18 months we identified six separate episodes of wire bristle ingestion after eating grilled meat. The public should be aware of this potential danger.”

In a YouTube video, Dr. Grand discusses the grilled meat danger he detected in Rhode Island and advises people that one way to avoid ingesting wire bristles and subsequent life-saving surgery is to carefully wipe the grill off with paper towels after cleaning the grill with a wire brush.

Image Source: Courtesy of MorgueFile

Reference: “Inadvertent Ingestion of Wire Bristles From a Grill Cleaning Brush: Radiologic Detection of Unsuspected Foreign Bodies” American Journal of Roentgenology; April 2012 vol. 198 no. 4 836-839; David J. Grand, David R. Cloutier, Michael D. Beland and William W. Mayo-Smith.