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Caustic esophageal injury in adults

George Triadafilopoulos, MD
Section Editor
John R Saltzman, MD, FACP, FACG, FASGE, AGAF
Deputy Editor
Shilpa Grover, MD, MPH, AGAF


Caustic ingestion can cause severe injury to the esophagus and the stomach. The severity and extent of esophageal and gastric damage resulting from a caustic ingestion depend upon the following factors [1,2]:

Corrosive properties of the ingested substance

Amount, concentration, and physical form (solid or liquid) of the agent

Duration of contact with the mucosa

Most ingestion occurs in children and the remainder in psychotic, suicidal, and alcoholic subjects. More than 5000 caustic ingestions are reported annually in the United States; these ingestions are the leading cause of esophageal strictures in children [3].

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: May 23, 2017.
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