Coke before gastric endoscopy

We’re talking about patients who undergo bariatric surgery, gastrectomy for cancer, and other procedures that remove most of the stomach. Patients sometimes have food residues and bile reflux that complicate or prevent doing the complete procedure.

What to do?

Dr. Beom Jae Lee and Jong-Jae Park from Korea University in Seoul reported their findings during the major gastrointestinal meting, Digestive Disease Week.

First, the details.

  • 70 patients scheduled for endoscopy following subtotal stomach removal for cancer were assigned to no preparation or to drink 700 mL of Coca-Cola the evening before the procedure.

And, the results.

  • Most patients in both groups had no food residues identified during endoscopy.
  • But, about 10% of patients given no preparation had residues substantial enough to prevent the endoscopist from doing the entire procedure.
  • None of those who drank cola had such problems.
  • After adjusting for confounding factors including tumor location, operation type, time since surgery, and gender, the researchers found that the cola treatment significantly lowered the risk of food residues.
  • Bile reflux severe enough to require saline irrigation was also significantly less common in cola-treated patients.

The bottom line?
“Preparation with cola in the evening before upper GI endoscopy provides a good quality of preparation,” Dr. Park said in the MedPage article.

But Ananya Das of the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona thinks “Cola breaks up food bezoars by effervescence… but that would probably happen with any cleansing solution besides cola such as polyethylene glycol.”

6/7/08 14:42 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.