• Alkali burns of the esophagus were seen in 233 patients within 25 years in a single hospital. Most of these burns came from drinking lye, and 188 of the patients were children less than 6 years old. Stricture followed in most cases, commonly within two months but sometimes more than a year after the accident. It was present at the time of admission in 170 patients. The upper third of the esophagus was the most frequent site.
Of 206 patients with resultant severe esophagitis, 188 responded to esophageal dilatation; 14 required surgical excision of the stenotic portion. Dilatation must be carried out with due caution, since perforation is disastrous. The five deaths ascribed to perforation all occurred before 1939.
Further efforts should be made to educate the public to the dangers of commercial cleaning agents that may be ingested by children.
Carver GM, Sealy WC, Dillon ML. MANAGEMENT OF ALKALI BURNS OF THE ESOPHAGUS. JAMA. 1956;160(17):1447–1450. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960520009003
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