Alternate Names : Perforation of the Esophagus
Esophageal perforation is a hole in the wall of the esophagus, which is the muscular tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach.
What is going on in the body?
Certain injuries or diseases can create a hole in the esophagus. When food is swallowed, some of it can leak out of the esophagus into the chest cavity.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
A hole in the esophagus can be caused by certain diseases and conditions, such as:
gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. This condition, which irritates the lower part of the esophagus, occurs when stomach acids flow back into the esophagus. If GERD isn't treated, it can also create ulcers. These ulcers can eat through the wall of the esophagus, causing a hole.
Mallory-Weiss syndrome, a condition in which a person has such severe vomiting that tears occur in the lower part of the esophagus
cancer of the esophagus
Holes in the esophagus can also be the result of an accidental injury. Sometimes this occurs when a doctor uses a lighted tube, called an endoscope, to look down a person's esophagus. It also can happen when a healthcare provider inserts a stomach tube through the nose to feed a person or to remove the contents of his or her stomach.