Suraj Surendran1, Coelho Victor2, Myla Yacob1, Negine Paul1, Sudhakar Chandran1, Anoop John3, Ebby George Simon3, Inian Samarasam1

1Clinic of General and Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery, Christian Medical College Hospital, Vellore, India
2Clinic of General Surgery, Christian Medical College Hospital, Vellore, India
3Clinic of Medical Gastroenterology, Christian Medical College Hospital, Vellore, India


Objective: Boerhaave’s syndrome (BS) is a rare, but potentially fatal condition, characterized by barogenic esophageal rupture and carries a high mortality. We aimed to study our institutional experience of managing patients with BS.

Material and Methods: A retrospective review of patients with BS presenting to a tertiary care centre from 2005 to 2018 was carried out in this study. Clinical presentation, diagnostic evaluations, treatments received, and treatment outcomes were studied. Perforations were classified as early (<24 hours) and delayed (>24 hours), based on the time elapsed. Surgical complications were graded using Clavien-Dindo grade. The Pittsburgh perforation severity score was correlated with short-term treatment outcomes.

Results: Of the 12 patients [male, 75%; mean (range) age, 53 (28-80) years] included, 10 patients had a delayed (>24 hours) presentation. Chest pain was the dominant symptom (58.3%); six patients presented either in shock (n= 1) or with organ failure (n= 3) or both (n= 2). All the perforations were sited in the lower thoracic esophagus, of which three were contained and nine were uncontained. The seal of the perforation was achieved by surgical repair in four patients (primary repair, 2; repair over a T-tube, 2) and endoscopic techniques in four patients (clipping, 1; stenting, 3). Sepsis drainage [surgical, 7 (open-5, minimally-invasive-2); non-surgical, 5] and feeding jejunostomy were performed in all patients. Five (41.7%) patients received a re-intervention. Median (range) hospital stay was 25.5 (12-101) days, 30-day operative morbidity was 50%, and there was one in-hospital death. The Pittsburgh perforation severity score was as follows: 2-5 in two patients and >5 in 10 patients; there were more delayed presentations, increased surgical interventions, post-procedure morbidity, and in-hospital mortality in the latter group, but the differences were statistically not significant. In 11 patients followed-up [median (range):1507 (17-5929) days], there was no disease recurrence, symptomatic reflux or dysphagia.

Conclusion: Favourable treatment outcomes, including reduced mortality and organ preservation can be achieved for Boerhaave’s perforations, through a multimodality approach. Minimally invasive, endoluminal or open surgical techniques may be safely utilized in its management. The Pittsburgh severity score can be a useful clinical tool that can be used to select the initial intervention and to predict treatment outcomes.

Keywords: Boerhaave’s syndrome, spontaneous esophageal perforation, surgery, therapeutic endoscopy, Pittsburgh perforation severity score

Cite this article as: Surendran S, Victor C, Yacob M, Paul N, Chandran S, John A, et al. Clinical profile and treatment outcomes of Boerhaave’s syndrome: A 13-year experience from an upper gastrointestinal surgical unit. Turk J Surg 2023; 39 (3): 177-189.


Ethics Committee Approval

This study was approved by Christian Medical College Ethics Committee (Decision no: 13062, Date: 24.06.2020).

Peer Review

Externally peer-reviewed.

Author Contributions

Concept - SS, CV, MY, IS; Design - SS, CV, MY, IS; Supervision - IS; Materials - SS, CV, MY, NP, SC, AJ, EGS, IS; Data Collection and/ or Processing - SS, CV, MY, NP, SC, AJ, EGS, IS; Analysis and/or Interpretation - SS, CV, MY, NP, SC, AJ, EGS, IS; Literature Search - SS, CV, MY, NP, SC, AJ, EGS, IS; Writing Manuscript - SS, CV; Critical Reviews - SS, MY, NP, SC, AJ, EGS, IS.

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Financial Disclosure

The authors declared that this study has received no financial support.