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SPONTANEOUS RUPTURE OF THE ESOPHAGUS

JAMA. 1955;159(16):1541. doi:10.1001/jama.1955.02960330041013.
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Spontaneous rupture of normal esophagus is a rare occurrence. The celebrated Dutch clinician Boerhaave gave the first and remarkably accurate description of it in 1724. The patient was "the illustrious Baron Wassenaer, Lord High Admiral to the Republick, [who] after intense straining and vomiting broke asunder the tube of the esophagus, near the diaphragm, so that after the most excruciating pains the aliments which he swallowed passed, together with the air, into the cavity of the thorax, and he expired in 24 hours."1

Walker2 in 1914 reported one case, the first of the four reported in literature in which diagnosis was made before death. He was able to find only 22 cases of spontaneous rupture of the esophagus reported in the literature. Ridgway and Duncan3 in 1937 culled 35 cases from literature. Eliason and Welty4 described in 1946 three cases in which the diagnosis was made

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