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Summary

Background

Gastric phytobezoars represent the most common bezoars in patients with poor gastric motility. A variety of dissolution therapies and endoscopic fragmentation techniques have been evaluated as conservative treatment so as to avoid surgery.

Aim

To investigate the effectiveness of Coca-Cola for gastric phytobezoars dissolution.

Methods

We performed a systematic search to identify publications on gastric phytobezoars to assess the efficacy of Coca-Cola as a dissolution therapy. Diospyrobezoars, formed after persimmon ingestion, are a distinct type of phytobezoars characterized by their hard consistency. Thus, these two subgroups of bezoars were compared in terms of successful dissolution.

Results

Over a 10-year period (2002–2012), 24 papers including 46 patients have been published. In 91.3% of the cases, phytobezoar resolution with Coca-Cola administration was successful, either as a single treatment (50%) or combined with further endoscopic techniques, whereas only 4 patients underwent surgery. Phytobezoars were more likely to dissolve after initial attempt with Coca-Cola compared with diospyrobezoars (60.6% vs. 23%, P = 0.022).

Conclusions

Coca-Cola alone is effective in gastric phytobezoar dissolution in half of the cases and, combined with additional endoscopic methods, is successful in more than 90% of them.