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Perforation of esophagus

The presence of a hole or other type of opening in the esophageal wall through which the contents of the esophagus can pass into the mediastinum. The most common cause of esophageal perforation is injury during a medical procedure such as esophagoscopy or placement of a naso-gastric tube; and pathologic process such as neoplasm or gastric reflux with ulceration. Less common causes include injuries from penetrating or blunt trauma or injury to the esophagus during an operation on another organ, mechanical problem such as violent retching or vomiting; ingestion of a foreign body or caustic agents. The condition often results in infection of the mediastinum and mediastinitis

Symptoms of Perforation of esophagus

The following features are indicative of Perforation of esophagus:
  • difficulty in swallowing
  • difficulty in breathing
  • chest pain

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Common Causes of Perforation of esophagus

The following are the most common causes of Perforation of esophagus:
  • injury to an esophagus during a medical procedure
  • blunt trauma
  • gastric reflux with ulceration
  • previous surgery on the esophagus
  • swallowing a foreign object or caustic chemicals
  • violent vomiting

Risk Factors for Perforation of esophagus

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Perforation of esophagus:
  • malnutrition
  • ongoing steroid therapy
  • dilation of tough esophageal strictures

Prevention of Perforation of esophagus

No, it is not possible to prevent Perforation of esophagus.
  • injuries are hard to prevent

Occurrence of Perforation of esophagus

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Perforation of esophagus cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Rare between 10K - 50K cases

Common Age Group

Perforation of esophagus most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged > 50 years

Common Gender

Perforation of esophagus can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Perforation of esophagus

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Perforation of esophagus:
  • Chest X-ray: To diagnose fluid leakage from the esophagus into the space around the lungs
  • Chest CT scan (Computed tomography): To look for an abscess in the chest or esophageal cancer

Complications of Perforation of esophagus if untreated

Yes, Perforation of esophagus causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Perforation of esophagus is left untreated:
  • permanent damage to the esophagus
  • abscess formation around esophagus
  • infection of lungs

Procedures for Treatment of Perforation of esophagus

The following procedures are used to treat Perforation of esophagus:
  • Mediastinoscopy: To remove fluid behind the breastbone and between the lungs
  • Stent implantation: This procedure is done if only a small amount of fluid has leaked

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Perforation of esophagus

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Perforation of esophagus:
  • Use of over-the-scope clips (OTSC): A method to close esophageal perforations

Time for Treatment of Perforation of esophagus

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Perforation of esophagus to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Disease cannot be treated but only maintained or effects reduced

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Perforation of esophagus.
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