Study: dis­trac­tion hard to swal­low

Townsville Bulletin - - Your Health -

THE art of sword swal­low­ing car­ries many pre­dictable risks, but the dan­gers are mag­ni­fied if an­i­mals or other dis­trac­tions en­croach on the act, an un­usual study in the Bri­tishMed­i­calJour­nal says.

Sword swal­low­ers are de­fined as in­di­vid­u­als who can swal­low a non-re­tractable solid steel blade at least two cen­time­tres wide and 38 cen­time­tres long.

In an at­tempt to ex­plore the risks of this un­usual ac­tiv­ity, the pa­per asked 46 sword swal­low­ers about their med­i­cal his­tory.

Nine­teen had ex­pe­ri­enced pha­ryn­geal pain — ‘‘sword throat’’ — whilst learn­ing.

Many had suf­fered lower chest pain, and six had suf­fered per­fo­ra­tion of the phar­ynx and oe­soph­a­gus. One other was told a sword had ‘brushed’ the heart.

Most in­juries oc­curred when swal­low­ers used mul­ti­ple or un­usual swords.

One swal­lower lac­er­ated his phar­ynx when try­ing to swal­low a curved sabre whilst an­other suf­fered lac­er­a­tions af­ter be­ing dis­tracted by a ‘mis­be­hav­ing’ ma­caw that was on his shoul­der.

OWW . . . ‘sword throat’ oc­cu­pa­tional haz­ard

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