Case Report
Copyright ©2006 Baishideng Publishing Group Co., Limited. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Aug 28, 2006; 12(32): 5223-5228
Published online Aug 28, 2006. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v12.i32.5223
Corrosive injury to upper gastrointestinal tract: Still a major surgical dilemma
Siew Min Keh, Nzewi Onyekwelu, Kieran McManus, Jim McGuigan
Siew Min Keh, The Royal National Nose, Throat & Ear Hospital, London, United Kingdom
Nzewi Onyekwelu, Kieran McManus, Jim McGuigan, Thoracic Surgical Unit, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, United Kingdom
Author contributions: All authors contributed equally to the work.
Correspondence to: Miss Siew Min Keh, The Royal National Nose, Throat & Ear Hospital, 330 Gray’s Inn Road, London, WC1X 8DA, United Kingdom.
Telephone: +44-20-77941487
Received: May 23, 2006
Revised: June 6, 2006
Accepted: June 15, 2006
Published online: August 28, 2006

In the developed and developing countries, corrosive injury to the gastrointestinal system as a consequence of either accidental ingestion or as a result of self-harm has become a less common phenomenon compared to decades ago. This could partly be attributed to the tighter legislation imposed by the government in these countries on detergents and other corrosive products and general public awareness. Most busy upper gastrointestinal surgical units in these countries, especially in the developed countries will only encounter a small number of cases per year. Up to date knowledge on the best management approach is lacking. In this article, we present our experience of two contrasting cases of corrosive injury to the upper gastrointestinal tract in our thoracic unit in the last 2 years and an up-to-date Medline literature search has been carried out to highlight the areas of controversies in the management of corrosive injuries of the upper gastrointestinal tract. We concluded that the main principle in managing such patients requires a good understanding of the pathophysiology of corrosive injury in order to plan both acute and future management. Each patient must be evaluated individually as the clinical picture varies widely. Signs and symptoms alone are an unreliable guide to injury.

Keywords: Acid, Alkali, Oesophageal stricture, Endoscopy, Steroids, Oesophageal and gastric carcinoma