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To the Editor.—In an article, "The Effect of Chlorine Bleach on the Esophagus," by G. Landau and W. Saunders in the Archives (80:174, 1964), the authors reported 393 cases of chlorine bleach ingestion without strictures or perforations. Kaplan et al, however, did see a case with esophageal burns in a series of 12 patients, who were subjected to early esophagoscopy (Archives73:52, 1961). All reported cases were due to the usual 5.25% sodium hypochlorite. In the Netherlands, however, the sodium hypochlorite content of commercial preparations was raised to 10% to 12% recently.
Esophagoscopy revealed in eight of 18 cases of ingestion of this concentrated product more or less extensive esophageal burns. These patients were treated with antibiotics and dilatation. No strictures or other complications developed. In 54 previous cases of ingestion of 5% to 6% sodium hypochlorite burns were seen in four cases.
Our conclusions are that early esophagoscopy should be
C. C. LEIBBRANDT, A. N. P. VAN HEYST. ESOPHAGEAL BURNS BY CHLORINE BLEACH. Arch Otolaryngol. 1968;87(4):449. doi:10.1001/archotol.1968.00760060451029