Non-fatal rupture of a cocaine packet in a man with the 'bodypacker' syndrome

Jan Willem Haveman, D J A Sonneveld, D R A Uges, H Delwig, J G Zijlstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


A 24-year-old patient was admitted to the intensive care unit because he had swallowed about 20 cocaine packets 48 hours before admission; he also complained of abdominal cramps, perspiration and dizziness. The patient reported that he had not defecated since swallowing the packets. Abdominal X-ray revealed only coprotasis. On conservative therapy with bowel irrigation, two packets were eliminated, after which a second abdominal X-ray revealed several cocaine packets in the colon. Four days afterwards, the cocaine packets in the colon had not progressed despite adequate bowel irrigation. The patient now showed signs of mild cocaine intoxication (hallucinations and tachycardia). It was therefore decided to perform a laparotomy. Via a sigmoidotomy, 7 intact packets were removed; another 3 had already ruptured and were empty. The rupture of 3 cocaine packets in this patient was probably not fatal because of the sedation with midazolam and because the patient had diarrhoea as a result of the extensive irrigation, so that a large proportion of the cocaine was probably not absorbed. This case also shows that the presence of foreign bodies cannot be established adequately by an abdominal X-ray if there is coprostasis.

Translated title of the contributionNon-fatal rupture of a cocaine packet in a man with the 'bodypacker' syndrome
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)2246-50
Number of pages5
JournalNederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
Issue number47
Publication statusPublished - 23-Nov-2002


  • Adult
  • Cocaine
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures
  • Drug Packaging
  • Foreign Bodies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Radiography, Abdominal

Cite this