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April 1980

Liquid Caustic Ingestion Spectrum of Injury

Author Affiliations

From the Gastrointestinal Unit, San Francisco General Hospital, and the Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco.

Arch Intern Med. 1980;140(4):501-504. doi:10.1001/archinte.1980.00330160061027

• Seventeen patients who ingested liquid caustics were reviewed for location, extent, severity, and outcome of the mucosal injury. Although many complained of glossopharyngeal pains and dysphagia (12 patients), and most had some oral mucosal burns (15 patients), the absence of severe oral burns or pharyngoesophageal symptoms did not exclude esophageal or gastric injury as determined by endoscopy. The location of the most severe mucosal injury was unpredictable by symptoms alone; seven of the 17 patients demonstrated gastric mucosal injury greater than esophageal. One patient died of extensive esophageal, gastric, and duodenal injury; esophageal strictures developed in three patients. Caustic ingestion is a serious medical condition whose severity can best be gauged by endoscopic findings and not by patient symptoms alone. Outcome is variable, ranging from an asymptomatic state to stricture formation or even death.

(Arch Intern Med 140:501-504, 1980)