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Peer Reviewed


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NLM Title Abbreviation

Medicine (Baltimore)

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Esophageal perforation is a rare condition that is commonly missed. Male gender and alcohol use are predisposing risk factors. Most of the cases are iatrogenic or traumatic; nonetheless, spontaneous cases are not uncommon. It typically occurs after vomiting or straining as the increased intra-abdominal pressure transmits into the esophagus and results in the tear. One of the main complications is acute bacterial mediastinitis from contamination with esophageal flora. This condition can be life-threatening because it is very frequently misdiagnosed and appropriate management is often delayed.A 49-year-old man presented with worsening sudden-onset interscapular back pain that then changed to chest pain with odynophagia and was found to have fever and leukocytosis.Chest computed tomography revealed signs of mediastinitis with possible esophageal perforation. He reported symptoms started 2 days ago after lifting of heavy objects. Empiric antimicrobial was begun with conservative management and avoidance of oral intake. Barium esophagram and esophagogastroduodenoscopy revealed no signs of perforation or inflammation. His symptoms resolved and he gradually resumed oral intake. Blood cultures grew Methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus and he was discharged on appropriate antibiotics for 4 weeks. He did well on follow-up 3 months after hospitalization.The case highlights the importance of considering esophageal etiologies of chest pain.


OAfund, Acute Disease, Back Pain, Chest Pain, Esophageal Perforation, Humans, Male, Mediastinitis, Middle Aged, Staphylococcal Infections

Published Article/Book Citation

Medicine:August 2015 - Volume 94 - Issue 32 - p e1232 doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000001232


Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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