Symptoms & Signs
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.
Diagnosis & Tests
- Fast breathing
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
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.
Review Date : 2/21/2009
Reviewed By : 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.
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