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Esophageal Perforation

Esophageal perforation is a life-threatening condition. Saliva is spread from the esophagus to surrounding tissues, resulting in infection. If untreated, esophageal perforation can result in sepsis (severe infection) and death.

Causes

The majority of esophageal perforations are caused by instrumentation following an upper endoscopy and dilation of the esophagus for treatment of conditions such as esophageal peptic strictureachalasia or esophageal cancer. The esophagus can also be perforated following severe vomiting.

Symptoms

  • Chest pain
  • Odynophagia (pain on swallowing)
  • Fever
  • Chills
Learn More about:

By Farzaneh Banki, M.D.

References:

1. Brinster CJ , Singhal S, Lee L, Marshall MB, Kaiser LR and Kucharczuk JC. Evolving options in the management of esophageal perforation. The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, 77(4), April 2004, Pages 1475-1483
2. Freeman RK, Van Woerkom JM, Vyverberg A, Ascioti AJ. Esophageal stent placement for the treatment of spontaneous esophageal perforations. Ann Thorac Surg. 2009 Jul;88(1):194-8.
3. Sharma P, Kozarek R, and the Practice Parameters Committee of the American College of Gastroenterology. Role of Esophageal Stents in Benign and Malignant Diseases. Am J Gastroenterol 2010; 105:258–273