Esophageal perforation in a sword swallower

Tex Heart Inst J. 2001;28(1):65-8.


We present the case of a 59-year-old man who sustained an esophageal perforation as a result of sword swallowing. An esophagogram established the diagnosis, and surgical repair was attempted. However, 19 days later, a persistent leak and deterioration of the patient's condition necessitated a transhiatal esophagectomy with a left cervical esophagogastrostomy. The patient recovered and has resumed his daily activities at the circus, with the exception of sword swallowing. This case report presents an unusual mechanism for a potentially lethal injury. Our search of the English-language medical literature revealed no other report of esophageal perforation resulting from sword swallowing. Management of such an injury is often difficult, and a favorable outcome is dependent on prompt diagnosis and treatment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational*
  • Esophageal Perforation / diagnostic imaging
  • Esophageal Perforation / etiology*
  • Esophageal Perforation / surgery
  • Esophagectomy
  • Esophagoplasty
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery
  • Radiography
  • Reoperation
  • Surgical Flaps
  • Surgical Wound Dehiscence / diagnostic imaging
  • Surgical Wound Dehiscence / etiology
  • Surgical Wound Dehiscence / surgery
  • Wounds, Stab / diagnostic imaging
  • Wounds, Stab / etiology*
  • Wounds, Stab / surgery