Medline ® Abstract for Reference 5
of 'Evaluation of the adult with chest pain in the emergency department'
Life-threatening acute posterior mediastinitis due to esophageal perforation.
Burnett CM, Rosemurgy AS, Pfeiffer EA
Ann Thorac Surg. 1990;49(6):979.
We analyzed the treatment of a recent group of patients with life-threatening acute posterior mediastinitis due to esophageal perforation to elucidate common factors in successful treatment. Life-threatening acute posterior mediastinitis due to esophageal perforation was diagnosed in 16 patients over the past 12 years. Esophageal perforation resulted from endoscopy in 11 patients, retching in 4, and blunt trauma in 1 patient. Preoperative serum albumin levels were higher in patients who survived. Fourteen of 16 patients (88%) underwent exploration: mediastinal drainage in 14 (10 survived), esophageal repair in 9 (7 survived) with diversion in 3 (3 survived), and stent placement in 2 (1 survived). Six of 16 patients (38%) died, always of polymicrobial sepsis. Female patients and those with cancer, endoscopic perforations, delayed diagnosis, persistent mediastinal contamination, mediastinal suppuration or necrotizing cellulitis, and postoperative complications did poorly. Antibiotics must be effective against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, and against both anaerobic and aerobic bacteria. Early surgical intervention is key, particularly elimination of ongoing mediastinal soilage. Thorough mediastinal debridement and wide mediastinal drainage appear to be important in improving survival of patients with life-threatening acute posterior mediastinitis due to esophageal perforation.
Department of Surgery, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33606.