Esophageal perforation - Symptom
Perforation of the esophagus
The main symptom is pain at first.
Patients with a perforation in the middle portion or lowermost portion of the esophagus may have difficulty swallowing, chest pain, and difficulty breathing.
Signs and tests:
Patients with a perforation in the top part of the esophagus may have neck pain or stiffness and air bubbles underneath the skin.
A chest x-ray may reveal air in the soft tissues of the chest, fluid that has leaked from the esophagus into the space around the lungs, or a lung collapse.
A chest CT scan may show an abscess in the chest or esophageal cancer. X-rays taken after you drink a non-harmful dye can help pinpoint the location of the perforation.
- Reviewed last on: 12/13/2010
- George F. Lonstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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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