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Am J Gastroenterol. 1994 Mar;89(3):367-70.

Instrumental esophageal perforation: chest film findings.

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  • 1Gastroenterology Unit, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.


The aim of this study was to evaluate plain film findings of the chest in instrumental esophageal perforation. We hypothesized that such "clean" perforations, often detected early, would be associated with a low frequency of abnormal plain film findings. Fifteen patients with instrumental esophageal perforation were identified, and their records and radiographs were reviewed. Twelve (80%) of the patients had abnormalities suggestive of perforation. The most common (60%) abnormality seen was pneumomediastinum. The second most common (33%) finding was a density adjacent to the descending aorta in the left cardiophrenic angle, resulting in loss of contour of the descending aorta at the level of the left diaphragm. We concluded that plain films, even when taken shortly after instrumentation, provide useful information regarding the presence of esophageal perforation.

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