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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Unable to breath after drinking carbonated beverage. Any suggestion?

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Dr. Abhijit Deshmukh

Gastroenterologist

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 492 Questions

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Posted on Tue, 11 Dec 2012 in Digestion and Bowels
Question: My daughter age 34 after drinking a couple of sips of usually a carbonated beverage, chokes,cannot breath. Last episode lasted over 30 seconds and her husband did the hymelic maneuver and the beverage rolled out of her mouth. She felt she could not breath and he said she turned blue. Very diaphorectic right after and felt like going to pass out. Lips looked a little blue at that time. Does not happen with solid foods. Seems to happen I think frequently. Thank you for any insight.
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Answered by Dr. Abhijit Deshmukh 1 hour later
Hi,

Thanks for the query.

Yes, carbonated beverages which combine water and gas can cause aspiration and choking sensation while swallowing. Bubbles can tickle the throat to cause coughing or sneezing that interferes with the interplay between breathing and swallowing hence the choking sensation occurs. This can cause shortness of breath and violent cough which could have been responsible for her symptoms.

The lips turning blue is a feature of cyanosis associated with aspiration.

As she is alright now, we need not be concerned now. However the following things can be done to avoid it:
1) Best is to avoid carbonated drinks.
2) If she still wants to have it, try using a straw with small calibre.
3) Avoid eating at the same time when she is drinking liquids especially aerated once
4) Avoid talking while drinking

Hope this answers your query. Please do reply in case of any further questions.

Regards
Dr Abhijit

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
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Follow up: Dr. Abhijit Deshmukh 6 hours later
Thank you. Is this called esophgeal spasm and what cause this reaction in just some people. Could this be a stricture or blockage or would that happen all the time. Could this be reflux? What does someone do to help her during episode.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Abhijit Deshmukh 5 hours later
Hi,
Thank you for writing back
It is unlikely she has an esophageal spasm, stricture, blockage, or reflux since she is totally asymptomatic rest of the time.
During these episodes, ensure she does not drink or eat. Ensure she stays upright.
She needs to avoid eating and drinking at same time. Best is to avoid aerated drinks.
She can get a barium swallow (simple radiological investigation) done in case you are too worried or symptoms are too frequent or occur otherwise also.
And the cause or patho-physiology(the mechanism of the disease) behind this is still not clear probably bubbles can tickle the throat to cause coughing or sneezing that interferes with the interplay between breathing and swallowing hence the choking sensation occurs.
Hope this answers your query.
Please do let me know if you have any further questions.
Regards

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Aparna Kohli
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