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Case Reports
July 1947

DIPHTHERIA OF THE ESOPHAGUS: A Case Involving Stomach and Tongue

Author Affiliations

From Municipal Contagious Disease Hospital, Chicago Health Department.

Am J Dis Child. 1947;74(1):80-83. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1947.02030010087008

IN PEDIATRIC literature pathologic conditions of the esophagus are probably mentioned less frequently than of any other organ in the human mechanism. From time to time, cases of congenital atresia are reported, and in older children strictures resulting from swallowing lye. But reference to diphtheria invading the gullet is rare indeed. In most textbooks the possibility of diphtheria localizing in the esophagus, or even entering the orifice by extension from the pharynx, is omitted entirely.

Jacobi1 in his treatise on diphtheria, which was written before Corynebacterium diphtheriae was discovered, discussed diphtheria of the esophagus and the cardiac end of the stomach. However, he stated: "According to Zenker and von Ziemssen the membrane of pharyngeal diphtheria is said to suddenly cease at the entrance into the esophagus." Nevertheless, Jacobi stated that he observed membrane in the upper part of the esophagus over a surface of 1 to 3 cm. in

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