Esophageal injuries: Spectrum of multidetector row CT findings

Elisabetta de Lutio di Castelguidone, Stefanella Merola, Antonio Pinto, Maria Raissaki, Nicola Gagliardi, Luigia Romano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Aim of this study is to illustrate the multidetector row computed tomographic findings related to oesophageal injuries and their significance for therapeutic decisions. Method: From April 2002 to April 2005 we studied 16 patients with suspected oesophageal injury. Ten patients underwent standard chest radiograph, while five patients with suspected foreign body ingestion were submitted to cervical plain film and gastrografin swallow study. All 16 patients underwent multidetector row CT examination. Results: In six patients with cervical, thoracic and abdominal trauma, CT showed the presence of thoracic traumatic lesions and findings suggestive of perforation of the oesophagus. In five patients with foreign body ingestion cervical radiography was positive in only one case, while CT showed the presence of a foreign body in all cases. In three patients with post-intubation complications, CT showed the presence of perioesophageal fluid collection containing small gas bubbles in two cases and an oesophageal-aortic fistula in one case. In the remaining two patients with suspected spontaneous oesophageal perforation, CT demonstrated an oesophageal wall oedema and thickening in one case, and oesophageal fluid distension with perioesophageal small bubbles gas and fluid in the second case. Conclusion: Oesophageal injuries, when complicated with perforation, constitute a life-threatening condition. Knowledge of the CT signs of oesophageal injuries has important implications for the role of imaging at the time of initial diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-348
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Radiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2006


  • Multidetector row CT
  • Oesophagus
  • Perforation
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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