Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Boerhaave Syndrome Overview

Another name for Boerhaave Syndrome is Esophageal Perforation.

What is an esophageal perforation?
A person with an esophageal perforation has a rupture or hole in the esophagus. Most cases of esophageal perforation are complications of medical procedures, such as upper GI endoscopy, esophageal sclerotherapy, variceal ligation, or dilation of the esophagus. Those who suffer an esophageal perforation during a medical procedure, usually have a fragile esophagus caused by another illness. Sudden spontaneous rupture of the esophagus, called Boerhaave syndrome, is rare. Boerhaave syndrome is most common among patients aged 40-60 years old.

What are the symptoms of an esophageal perforation?
Common symptoms include severe chest pain or upper abdominal pain. Other symptoms include nausea, hoarse voice, back pain, and pain with swallowing.

How does the doctor treat an esophageal perforation?
Treatment of esophageal perforation includes intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and surgery.

Continue to Boerhaave Syndrome Symptoms

Last Updated: Feb 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Boerhaave Syndrome References
  1. Butler KH, Swencki SA. Chest pain: a clinical assessment. Radiol Clin North Am. 2006 Mar;44(2):165-79, vii. [16500201]
  2. Khan AZ, Strauss D, Mason RC. Boerhaave's syndrome: diagnosis and surgical management. Surgeon. 2007 Feb;5(1):39-44. [17313127]
  3. Wu JT, Mattox KL, Wall MJ Jr. Esophageal perforations: new perspectives and treatment paradigms. J Trauma. 2007 Nov;63(5):1173-84. Review. [17993968]
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