Acute esophageal necrosis: a 1-year prospective study

Gastrointest Endosc. 2002 Aug;56(2):213-7. doi: 10.1016/s0016-5107(02)70180-6.


Background: A prospective 1-year study was conducted to assess the frequency, clinical spectrum, histologic description, and follow-up of acute esophageal necrosis unrelated to ingestion of caustic or corrosive agents.

Methods: The diagnosis of acute esophageal necrosis was based on a diffusely black esophagus at endoscopy and typical histologic features of diffuse mucosal and submucosal necrosis. Ingestion of caustic and corrosive agents was excluded in all patients. Medical history, associated diseases, and clinical symptoms were recorded for each patient. Nutritional status was evaluated based on clinical and biochemical parameters. Treatment included short-term parenteral nutrition and intravenous administration of a pump proton inhibitor. A second endoscopy was performed when possible at 2 weeks after presentation to assess regression of acute esophageal necrosis.

Results: Among 3900 patients who underwent EGD, 8 (0.2%) with acute esophageal necrosis were identified. Nutritional status was poor for 6 patients. Complete resolution of acute esophageal necrosis without further recurrence was observed in 4. No esophageal strictures appeared during follow-up. Four patients died, but no death was directly related to acute esophageal necrosis.

Conclusion: Acute esophageal necrosis is not as infrequent an endoscopic finding as has been reported. Acute esophageal necrosis appears to be associated with poor general health status and is not a purely local phenomenon.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Esophageal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Esophageal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Esophagoscopy
  • Esophagus / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Necrosis
  • Prospective Studies