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Boerhaave Syndrome Resulting From Homicidal Blunt Trauma

Xia, Michelle MD*†; Pustilnik, Stephen MD*†

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: September 2014 - Volume 35 - Issue 3 - p 176–177
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000102
Case Reports

Boerhaave syndrome is an uncommon condition with high rate of mortality that is higher than 90%. The syndrome has classically been associated with sudden severe chest pain after severe emesis or retching. However, traumatic esophageal rupture secondary to blunt injury has been occasionally reported in the literature, usually from unintentional injury. We report the first case of Boerhaave syndrome resulting from homicidally inflicted blunt trauma to the abdomen, which is a rare finding that can be easily missed during an autopsy.

*Department of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX; and †South Coast Forensics, LLC.

Manuscript received October 22, 2013; accepted December 1, 2013.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Stephen Pustilnik, MD, 5739 Ariel St, Houston, TX 77096. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.