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  • Hematemesis; usually self-limited.

  • Prior history of vomiting, retching in 50%.

  • Endoscopy establishes diagnosis.

General Considerations

Mallory-Weiss syndrome is characterized by a nonpenetrating mucosal tear at the gastroesophageal junction that is hypothesized to arise from events that suddenly raise transabdominal pressure, such as lifting, retching, or vomiting. Alcoholism is a strong predisposing factor. Mallory-Weiss tears are responsible for approximately 5% of cases of upper gastrointestinal bleeding.

Clinical Findings

A. Symptoms and Signs

Patients usually present with hematemesis with or without melena. A history of retching, vomiting, or straining is obtained in about 50% of cases.

B. Special Examinations

As with other causes of upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage, upper endoscopy should be performed after the patient has been appropriately resuscitated. The diagnosis is established by identification of a 0.5- to 4-cm linear mucosal tear usually located either at the gastroesophageal junction or, more commonly, just below the junction in the gastric mucosa (see eFigure 15–6).

Differential Diagnosis

At endoscopy, other potential causes of upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage are found in over 35% of patients with Mallory-Weiss tears, including peptic ulcer disease, erosive gastritis, arteriovenous malformations, and esophageal varices. Patients with underlying portal hypertension are at higher risk for continued or recurrent bleeding.


Patients are initially treated as needed with fluid resuscitation and blood transfusions. Most patients stop bleeding spontaneously and require no therapy. Endoscopic hemostatic therapy is employed in patients who have continuing active bleeding. Injection with epinephrine (1:10,000), cautery with a bipolar or heater probe coagulation device, or mechanical compression of the artery by application of an endoclip or band is effective in 90–95% of cases. Angiographic arterial embolization or operative intervention is required in patients who fail endoscopic therapy.

Corral  JE  et al. Mallory Weiss syndrome is not associated with hiatal hernia: a matched case-control study. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2017 Apr;52(4):462–4.
[PubMed: 28007004]  
Nojkov  B  et al. Distinctive aspects of peptic ulcer disease, Dieulafoy’s lesion, and Mallory-Weiss syndrome in patients with advanced alcoholic liver disease or cirrhosis. World J Gastroenterol. 2016 Jan 7;22(1):446–66.
[PubMed: 26755890]  


General Considerations

Eosinophilia of the esophagus may be caused by eosinophilic esophagitis and GERD (and, rarely, celiac disease, Crohn disease, and pemphigus).

Eosinophilic esophagitis is a disorder in which food or environmental antigens are thought to stimulate an inflammatory response. Initially recognized in children, it is increasingly identified in young or middle-aged adults (estimated prevalence 43/100,000). A history of allergies or atopic conditions (asthma, eczema, hay fever) is present in over ...

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