Acute Esophageal Necrosis: A Retrospective Cohort Study Highlighting the Mayo Clinic Experience

Anthony Robateau Colón, Amrit K. Kamboj, Catherine E. Hagen, Puru Rattan, Nayantara Coelho-Prabhu, Navtej S. Buttar, David H. Bruining, Andrew C. Storm, Mark V. Larson, Thomas R. Viggiano, Louis M. Wong Kee Song, Kenneth K. Wang, Prasad G. Iyer, David A. Katzka, Cadman L. Leggett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To describe the clinical, endoscopic, and histologic features in patients with acute esophageal necrosis (AEN). Patients and Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, patients who were diagnosed as having AEN at Mayo Clinic sites in Minnesota, Florida, and Arizona between January 1, 1996, and January 31, 2021, were included. Data were collected on patient clinical characteristics and endoscopic and pathologic findings. Results: The study included 79 patients with AEN with a median (range) age of 64 years (12 to 91 years); 53 (67.1%) were men. Predominant presenting symptoms were hematemesis (49 of 79 [62.0%]), abdominal pain (29 [36.7%]), and melena (20 [25.3%]). Shock was the triggering event for AEN in 49 (62.0%). The 30- and 90-day mortality were 24.0% (19 of 79) and 31.6% (25), respectively. The presence of coexisting infection or bacteremia was significantly associated with 90-day mortality (P<.01). Endoscopically, involvement of the distal third only, distal two-thirds only, and entire esophagus was observed in 31.6% (24 of 76), 39.5% (30), and 29.0% (22), respectively. The length of esophageal involvement correlated with duration of hospitalization (P=.05). The endoscopic appearance of the esophageal mucosa ranged from predominantly white (21 of 44 [47.7%]) to mixed white and black (13 [29.6%]) to predominantly black (10 [22.7%]), and sloughing was present in 18 (40.9%). In the 26 patients with histopathologic findings available for review, 25 (96.1%) had necrosis and/or ulceration with abundant pigmentation. Among the 79 patients, 39 (49.4%) had a follow-up esophagogastroduodenoscopy; 26 of these 39 patients (66.7%) had resolution while 5 had persistent AEN, 4 of whom had improvement. Esophageal strictures developed in 7 of the 39 patients (18.0%). Conclusion: Acute esophageal necrosis is a serious condition observed in critically ill patients. Its endoscopic appearance can be highly variable. In patients with an unclear diagnosis, esophageal biopsies may be helpful given the characteristic histologic findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1849-1860
Number of pages12
JournalMayo Clinic proceedings
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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