Thoracic esophageal perforations

Paul D. Kiernan*, Michael J. Sheridan, Eric Elster, John Rhee, Lucas Collazo, William D. Byrne, Thomas Fulcher, Vivian Hettrick, Betty Vaughan, Paula Graling

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Background: Recognition of the importance of early diagnosis and aggressive, definitive surgical intervention has brought about a dramatic decline in mortality related to distal esophageal perforation. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed all cases of thoracic esophageal perforation diagnosed at our hospital from September 1, 1979, through April 1, 2001. The study group consisted of 62 patients (43 men) with a mean age of 58.8 years (range, 20-92 yr). Results: In the group of 39 patients with early diagnosis (≤24 h), hospital survival was 87%, which increased to 93% when early diagnosis was combined with aggressive surgical treatment. Among the 23 patients with late diagnosis (>24 h), survival approached 70%. Yet, in patients who were treated aggressively with surgery, survival was almost 90% despite delayed diagnosis. Conclusion: We recommend aggressive, definitive surgery for thoracic esophageal perforations, whether diagnosed early or late. A variety of options are discussed with regard to complicated presentations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-163
Number of pages6
JournalSouthern Medical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Thoracic esophageal perforations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this