Rottura spontanea dell'esofago (sindrome di Boerhaave): diagnosi con Tomografia Computerizzata nelle presentazioni cliniche atipiche

Translated title of the contribution: Spontaneous esophageal perforation (Boerhaave syndrome): CT diagnosis of atypical clinical presentations

Enrico Maria Di Maggio, Lorenzo Preda, Alfredo La Fianza, Roberto Dore, Dario Pallavicini, Grazia Di Maggio, Rodolfo Campani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spontaneous esophageal perforation, or Boerhaave syndrome, is an uncommon finding requiring prompt diagnosis and immediate surgery because of its high mortality rate. The clinical diagnosis in typical cases is based on the symptom triad of Macler: vomiting, strong sudden chest pain and subcutaneous emphysema. We report 4 cases of Boerhaave syndrome with atypical presentation studied with Computed Tomography (CT) to make the correct diagnosis with atypical clinical findings. In each patient, we assessed the clinical symptoms, classifying them as typical and atypical, the diagnostic course leading to diagnosis and CT patterns. The classic symptoms were absent in one patient, while one patient had vomiting only, one had vomiting and chest pain and one had chest pain and cough. Chest radiography was performed in three patients and permitted the diagnosis in one of them only. CT permitted the definitive diagnosis in all cases. When spontaneous esophageal rupture presents with aspecific clinical findings, CT permits its accurate and specific diagnosis. We found atypical CT signs of esophageal rupture, namely pneumopericardium, uncommunicating mediastinal and pleural effusions, and focal pleural effusion in a contralateral cavity. Finally, our finding of a periesophageal mediastinal collection moving to the parietal subpleural space is not reported in the radiological literature. The severity of these findings varies and it is probably related to the increase in intraesophageal pressure affecting the progression of abscessual and hydroaerial collections in different anatomical structures; the time when CT is performed is also important. To conclude, the CT diagnosis of spontaneous esophageal rupture is specific and CT shows lesion site correctly.

Translated title of the contributionSpontaneous esophageal perforation (Boerhaave syndrome): CT diagnosis of atypical clinical presentations
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)52-57
Number of pages6
JournalRadiologia Medica
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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