Glucagon for the relief of esophageal food impaction does it really work?

Mohammad Al-Haddad, Eric M. Ward, James S. Scolapio, Dawn D. Ferguson, Massimo Raimondo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


We sought to evaluate our experience with glucagon used in the emergency department setting to relieve esophageal food impaction (EFI). We reviewed the records of patients with food impaction who received glucagon between January 1998 and May 2003 and recorded patient demographics, medical history, symptoms following glucagon administration, and endoscopic findings. There were 92 episodes of food impaction in 85 patients. Thirty-three percent of the episodes resulted in resolution of symptoms following a dose of glucagon. Sixty-seven percent had symptoms of food impaction after glucagon and underwent upper endoscopy in the emergency room. Only previous solid food dysphagia was positively associated with response to glucagon. Patients who received glucagon plus a benzodiazepine were more likely to have resolution of the EFI. In our experience, glucagon appears to relieve food impaction in one third of patients treated. This result is comparable to previously published data examining glucagon and placebo. The lack of advantage over placebo questions the practice of glucagon administration for EFI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1930-1933
Number of pages4
JournalDigestive diseases and sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Esophageal disorder
  • Esophageal dysphagia
  • Esophageal food impaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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