Contrast esophagram is the diagnostic procedure of choice in patients with clinically suspected perforation of the esophagus. In patients in whom the usual clinical signs or symptoms are unrecognized and in whom the diagnosis is obscure, the diagnosis of a perforated esophagus may be suggested by the finding of mediastinal fluid and air on CT. Three patients are reviewed. The perforations included one spontaneous, one from erosion of an esophageal carcinoma, and one iatrogenic. In two of the three patients, the diagnosis of perforated esophagus had not been made initially and in one patient the initial esophagram was interpreted as normal. Computed tomography of the chest in each patient led to the suspected diagnosis of perforated esophagus. Prompt appropriate surgical intervention followed. The findings of mediastinal fluid and more importantly mediastinal air on CT of the chest are strongly suggestive of esophageal perforation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine