Outcomes following Boerhaave's syndrome.

Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England

PubMedID: 24165336

Connelly CL, Lamb PJ, Paterson-Brown S. Outcomes following Boerhaave's syndrome. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2013;95(8):557-60.
Boerhaave's syndrome is associated with high mortality and morbidity. This study aimed to assess outcome following treatment in a specialist upper gastrointestinal surgical unit.

Patients were identified from a prospectively collected database (Lothian Surgical Audit) and their records reviewed. Primary outcomes were mortality and serious morbidity. Secondary outcomes included time to theatre, operation undertaken and length of hospital stay.

Twenty patients with Boerhaave's syndrome were identified between 1997 and 2011. Four patients (20%) died in hospital. The mean time to theatre from symptom onset was 2.4 days. This was 7.3 days in the patients who died compared with 1.5 days in survivors. Five patients underwent primary repair of rupture, eleven underwent direct closure over a T-tube and one rupture was irreparable. Three patients were managed non-operatively and all survived. Outcomes were similar for the different surgical groups. There was one death following primary closure (20%) and two after T-tube drainage (18%). The mean length of hospital stay was 35.7 days after T-tube drainage and 20.5 days after primary repair. The 3 patients with small, self-contained leaks had a mean length of stay of 5.7 days.

Aggressive surgical management with direct repair is associated with good survival in patients with Boerhaave's syndrome. Delayed time to theatre is associated with increased mortality. Patients with small, contained leaks without signs of sepsis can be managed non-operatively with a good outcome.