A Rare Case of Fatal Bowel Obstruction Secondary to a Colonic Bezoar

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A bezoar is a mass of undigested, or partially digested, material forming in the lumen of the gastroenteric tract, causing occlusive or subocclusive events. The most frequent types of bezoars are those composed of vegetable fibers, also called phytobezoars, which, by virtue of their high content in cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, remain undigested in the stomach and intestines and, from there, can migrate and occlude the narrowest portions of the bowel. The areas that are most frequently affected by occlusive phenomena related to the presence of bezoars are the stomach and the small intestine, although colic localizations are extremely rare. In this article, we have studied the case of a fatal colic obstruction caused by a phytobezoar in an 84-year-old woman who was found dead at her home. The autopsy revealed that the cause of the obstruction was a large artichoke fragment occluding the central part of the descending colon. Additional histological examinations confirmed that the death was attributable to bowel obstruction resulting in acute peritonitis.

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