Background Esophageal food bolus and/or foreign body (FB) impaction is a common gastrointestinal emergency. This meta-analysis reports on the pooled outcomes of cap-assisted endoscopic removal of esophageal FB. Methods We conducted a comprehensive search of several databases (inception to February 2022) to identify studies reporting on the use of a cap in the endoscopic treatment of esophageal FB ingestion. A random effects model was used to calculate the pooled odds ratio (OR) and mean difference (MD), and I2 values were used to assess the heterogeneity. Results Six studies were analyzed that included 677 patients treated with cap-assisted and 694 with conventional endoscopy. The cap-assisted method demonstrated statistically significant superiority regarding technical success (pooled OR 7.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.9-26.9; P=0.004), en bloc removal (pooled OR 26.6, 95%CI 17.6-40.2; P<0.001), as well as a significantly shorter procedure time (4.6 min, 95%CI-6.5 to-2.8; P<0.001), compared to conventional methods. Better technical success was achieved with the cap-assisted method performed under anesthesia (OR 8.7, 95%CI 1.6-47.7; P=0.01); however, a shorter procedure time was noted for the cap-assisted method without anesthesia (MD-1.5, 95%CI-2.7 to-0.4; P=0.01). Pooled adverse events were comparable. Pooled OR for mucosal tear was significantly lower with cap in food bolus impaction (OR 0.07, 95%CI 0.01-0.38; P=0.02). Conclusion Cap-assisted endoscopic removal of esophageal FB is associated with better technical success and en bloc removal, and a shorter procedure time compared to conventional methods, with comparable adverse events.
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