Alternate Names : 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.
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
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 such as esophagoscopy. However, because flexible instruments are now used this rarely occurs.
The esophagus may also become perforated as the result of:
- A tumor
- Gastric reflux with ulceration
- Swallowing a foreign object or caustic chemicals
- Violent vomiting
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.
Pictures & Images
The esophagus, stomach, large and small intestine, aided by the liver, gallbladder and pancreas convert the nutritive components of food into energy and break down the non-nutritive components into waste to be excreted.
Digestive system organs
The digestive system organs in the abdominal cavity include the liver, gallbladder, stomach, small intestine and large intestine.
Review Date : 9/1/2008
Reviewed By : Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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