Perforation of the esophagus
An esophageal perforation is a hole in the esophagus, the tube through which food passes from the mouth to the stomach.
A perforation is a hole through which the contents of the esophagus can pass into the mediastinum, the surrounding area in the chest. This often results in infection of the mediastinum (mediastinitis).
The most common cause of an esophageal perforation is injury during a medical procedure. However, because flexible instruments are now used this rarely occurs.
The esophagus may also become perforated as the result of:
Less common causes include injuries to the esophagus area (blunt trauma) and injury to the esophagus during an operation on another organ near the esophagus.
Eckstein M, Henderson SO. Thoracic trauma. In: Marx JA, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2009:chap 42.
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