Autopsy and Case Reports
Autopsy and Case Reports
Article / Clinical Case Report

Esophageal rupture: a severe complication of transesophageal echocardiography

Fernando Peixoto Ferraz de Campos; Brenda Margatho Ramos Martines; João Augusto dos Santos Martines; José de Arimatéia Batista Araújo Filho

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Since when the first transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) was undertaken in 1975, technological advances have made this diagnostic modality more reliable. TEE indications became widespread in cardiac and non-cardiac surgeries, intensive care units, and ambulatory clinics. The procedure is generally considered a safe diagnostic tool, but occasionally complications do occur. The insertion and manipulation of the ultrasound probe can cause oropharyngeal, esophageal, or gastric trauma. Although rare, these complications may present a mortality rate of up to 56% depending on the treatment approach and the elapsed time to the diagnosis. The authors report a case of a 65-year-old woman submitted to attempt a TEE in order to better study or diagnose an inter-atrial communication. After 3 days of the procedure, the patient was admitted to the hospital with edema, hyperemia of the anterior face of the neck, accompanied by systemic symptoms. The imaging diagnostic work-up evidenced signs of esophageal rupture and upper mediastinal involvement, the former confirmed by upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. The patient was treated with antibiotics and cervical and mediastinal drainage, with a favorable outcome.


Echocardiography, transesophageal, Mediastinitis, Esophagus, Iatrogenic disease.

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5696969d64cc8b5cda711ba6 autopsy Articles
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