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World J Gastrointest Surg. 2012 May 27;4(5):121-5. doi: 10.4240/wjgs.v4.i5.121.

Surgical management and outcomes of severe gastrointestinal injuries due to corrosive ingestion.

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Amit Javed, Sujoy Pal, Elan Kumaran Krishnan, Peush Sahni, Tushar Kanti Chattopadhyay, Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery and Liver Transplantation, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi 110029, India.



To report our experience in the surgical management of severe injuries of the gastrointestinal tract due to corrosive ingestion.


A retrospective review of patients who underwent emergency surgery for severe gastrointestinal injuries following corrosive ingestion between 1983 and 2010 was carried out. Data was extracted from a prospectively maintained esophageal disease database. Severe corrosive injuries were defined as full thickness necrosis with perforation of the esophagus or the stomach (with or without involvement of the adjacent viscera) with resultant mediastinitis or peritonitis.


Between 1983 and 2010, 209 patients with corrosive injury of the esophagus were managed. Of these, 13 (6.2%) patients underwent emergency surgery for severe corrosive injury. The median age of the patients was 22 years and the median interval between ingestion of the corrosive substance and surgery was 24 h. The surgical procedures done included esophagogastrectomy alone (n = 6), esophagogastrectomy with duodenectomy (n = 4), esophagogastrectomy with pancreaticoduodenectomy (n = 1), esophagogastrectomy with splenectomy (n = 1) and distal gastrectomy with duodenectomy (n = 1). Two patients died in the postoperative period and one after discharge awaiting the second surgery. The factors significantly predictive of mortality following such an injury included renal failure at the time of initial presentation, presence of metabolic acidosis, delay of more than 24 h between corrosive ingestion and surgery, and corrosive induced adjacent organ injury (pancreatic) (P < 0.001, 0.02, 0.005 and 0.015 respectively). Ten patients underwent subsequent surgery for restoration of the alimentary tract continuity with a colonic pull-up (n = 8) and gastrojejunostomy (n = 1). In one patient, the attempted colon pull-up failed due to extensive scarring of the mesocolon. The median follow up (following restoration of continuity of the gastrointestinal tract) was 36.5 mo. One patient developed dysphagia due to a stricture at the anastomotic site, which was successfully managed by dilatation. Another patient developed severe aspiration, necessitating laryngeal inlet closure and permanent tracheostomy, and 3 patients complained of occasional regurgitation.


Management of severe corrosive injury involves prompt resuscitation and urgent surgical debridement. Although the subsequent restoration of continuity may be complicated and may not always be possible, long term outcomes are acceptable in the majority.


Caustics; Dysphagia; Esophageal stenosis; Esophagus

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