Hemorrhagic pulmonary edema associated with meat tenderizer treatment for esophageal meat impaction

Chest. 1988 Sep;94(3):640-2. doi: 10.1378/chest.94.3.640.


We describe a case of acute hemorrhagic pulmonary edema caused by aspiration of Adolph's meat tenderizer, used in an attempt to relieve an esophageal meat impaction. We performed an animal experiment in which bronchial instillation of a similar solution reproduced the clinical findings in our patient. This is a previously unreported and potentially lethal complication of a therapy that has never been submitted to clinical trials. We recommend against the use of this therapy for patients with complete esophageal obstruction or in those otherwise at risk for aspiration.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Animals
  • Dogs
  • Esophagus*
  • Foreign Bodies / therapy*
  • Hemorrhage / chemically induced
  • Hemorrhage / pathology
  • Humans
  • Inhalation
  • Lung Diseases / chemically induced
  • Lung Diseases / pathology
  • Male
  • Papain / administration & dosage
  • Papain / adverse effects*
  • Pulmonary Edema / chemically induced*
  • Pulmonary Edema / diagnostic imaging
  • Radiography


  • Papain