Spontaneous rupture of the esophagus remains a medical and surgical challenge. Its diagnosis is often missed or delayed resulting in increased morbidity and mortality, and controversy exists as to the mode of therapy for the cases seen later than 12 hours after rupture. During the last seven years, nine patients were treated at Grady Memorial Hospital. Four patients, “early group,” were operated upon within 12 hours from the onset of their symptoms and five, “late group,” were operated upon between 20–76 hours (average 41) after rupture. All four patients in the “early group” had primary repair of the rupture and two had, in addition, fundoplication. From the two patients with primary repair alone, one developed postoperative leakage at the esophageal suture line, which closed spontaneously; whereas, in the two patients with fundoplication, no leakage occurred. Three of the four patients recovered and one died from renal failure, gastrointestinal bleeding, and gastric perforation. In the “late group” one patient had T-tube drainage of the esophagus and died. Two had primary repair alone with one death and the other two had primary repair with fundoplication 20 and 76 hours postrupture and both recovered. The two deaths in the “late group” were due to leakage at the site of the rupture. This study suggests that even in patients diagnosed late as having rupture of the esophagus, primary repair can be implemented with reasonable success. Good mediastinal, pleural and gastric drainage, high levels of appropriate antibiotics, and provision of good nourishment are of paramount importance for the successful management of these desperately ill patients.