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Clin Exp Otorhinolaryngol. 2008 Sep;1(3):174-6. doi: 10.3342/ceo.2008.1.3.174. Epub 2008 Sep 30.

Spontaneous Pharyngeal Perforation After Forceful Vomiting: The Difference from Classic Boerhaave's Syndrome.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Boerhaave's syndrome is spontaneous transmural perforation of the esophagus, which occurs most often after forceful vomiting or retching. This commonly occurs in the lower third of the esophagus but spontaneous perforation of the pharynx or cervical esophagus is extremely rare. This case presented a 20-yr-old healthy man with spontaneous pharyngeal perforation after forceful vomiting who had no history of instrumentation, cervical trauma, or having eaten anything sharp. Cervical pain and crepitus were the early symptom and sign of pharyngeal perforation and the rupture was detected on gastrografin swallow and CT examinations. The rupture site was higher than the upper esophageal sphincter, differing from Boerhaave's syndrome. The patient was conservatively managed without significant morbidity and mortality. Although this may resolve without surgical intervention, the pharyngeal rupture should receive early detection and clinical attention for preventing potential morbidity by late diagnosis.


Boerhaave's syndrome; Management; Mechanism; Pharynx; Spontaneous perforation

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