Arch Iran Med. 2020;23(8): 542-547.
doi: 10.34172/aim.2020.57
  Abstract View: 99
  PDF Download: 201

Original Article

Demography and Mortality of Body Packers; an Extended Experience from a Referral Center

Esmaeil Hajinasrollah 1 * ORCID logo, Amir Zamani 1 ORCID logo, Hadi Mirhashemi 1, Bahaor Oshidary 1, Mohsen Soori 1, Fariborz Rashnoo 1, Hassan Peyvandi 1, Mohammad Amin Shahrbaf 2

1 Departemnt of General Surgery Loghman Medical Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2 School of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Background: The incidence of smuggling and illegal transport of substances by internal concealment, also known as body packing, is increasing. The clinical approach to body packers has changed significantly over the past two decades. In addition, the mortality of body packers is an important issue in patient management. The purpose of the current study is to determine the statistics and mortality related to body packing.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, all body packer patients who referred to Loghman Hakim hospital were evaluated from 2010 to 2017. Demographic characteristics, findings of clinical imaging, treatment, and outcome of the patients were recorded. The data were analyzed using SPSS version 21.

Results: A total of 303 patients were enrolled in the study after the diagnosis of body packing by abdominal CT scanning without contrast. Conservative treatment including whole bowel irrigation (WBI) accompanied by close monitoring was done for 78% (n = 236) of patients; moreover, 26 patients (8.5%) underwent surgery after WBI, and 41 patients (13.5%) underwent surgery without bowel irrigation. Mortality was observed in eight patients (2.7%) five of whom (62.5%) died before surgery and had the clinical manifestation of crystal (methamphetamine) and cannabis toxicity. Furthermore, three patients (37.5%) died due to the complications of surgery such as gastrointestinal leakage of an abdominal abscess.

Conclusion: Conservative treatment seems to be better for the management of body packers. In addition, it is necessary to monitor patients for possible signs and symptoms of intoxication and gastrointestinal obstruction.

Keywords: Body packing, Body stuffing, Drug concealment, Drug smuggling, Illicit substance
Cite this article as: Hajinasrollah E, Zamani A, Mirhashemi H, Oshidary B, Soori M, Rashnoo F, et al. Demography and mortality of body packers; an extended experience from a referral center. Arch Iran Med. 2020;23(8):542–547. doi: 10.34172/aim.2020.57.
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Submitted: 24 Oct 2019
Accepted: 02 Jun 2020
ePublished: 01 Aug 2020
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