Esophageal perforation

Ann Thorac Surg. 1982 Feb;33(2):203-10. doi: 10.1016/s0003-4975(10)61912-1.


Esophageal perforation can be caused by any instrument, device, or foreign body reaching the hypopharynx. Diagnosis remains difficult. If esophageal perforation is suspected, Gastrografin (meglucamine diatrizoate) swallow study, eventually followed by barium swallow study, is the most useful diagnostic test. Absolute rules cannot be made about the selection of nonoperative or surgical treatment. If diagnosed early, cervical or thoracic esophageal perforations can sometimes be treated conservatively if there are no signs of systemic sepsis. Recurrent leakage after surgical closure is not unusual. Local tissue flaps can reinforce the closure, particularly after delayed operation, thereby often avoiding the necessity for a reoperation or an esophageal exclusion.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Esophageal Diseases / complications
  • Esophageal Perforation* / diagnosis
  • Esophageal Perforation* / etiology
  • Esophageal Perforation* / surgery
  • Foreign Bodies / complications
  • Humans
  • Iatrogenic Disease
  • Rupture, Spontaneous