Management recommendations for body stuffers at emergency units

  • Hossein Hassanian-Moghaddam
  • Fatemeh Amraei
  • Nasim Zamani Loghman Hakim Hospital, Shahid Behehsti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran
Keywords: body smuggling, conservative therapy, substances of abuse, surgery, toxicity


Managing body packers and stuffers is a challenge to emergency physicians, stuffers in particular, as there is no systematic approach to their treatment. The aim of this study was therefore to review all available literature on body stuffing and propose a guide to manage these patients. We searched Medline/PubMed, Google Scholar, and Scopus for published work on body stuffers using key words "body stuffer", "body stuffing", "poisoning", "toxicity", and "treatment" without a time limit and retrieved 290 articles, of which 61 remained after exclusion of those on "body packers" and repetitive documents. This review article evaluates and summarises the information gathered from them. The main step in body stuffer management is observation to make sure that they have passed all the swallowed packages of drugs of abuse. In some cases, imaging can be quite useful. Diagnostic pitfalls may be avoided with abdominopelvic CT without contrast, which is probably the best diagnostic method to determine the presence and the number of packages in these patients. Treatment should be specific for each group of drugs, whether it is opioids, cocaine, or amphetamine. Surgical interventions are indicated for obstruction of the intestines or package rupture. Legal precautions should be taken because of the legal complexity of body stuffing cases.


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How to Cite
Hassanian-Moghaddam H, Amraei F, Zamani N. Management recommendations for body stuffers at emergency units. AIHT [Internet]. 21May2019 [cited 18Jun.2019];70(2). Available from:

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