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Mallory-Weiss Tear


  • The tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach is called the esophagus.  Tears or cuts can form in the esophageal surface layer from certain conditions.  These tears are dangerous and may result in excessive bleeding.

  • Vomiting of blood, often following prolonged or forceful vomiting or retching.
  • One quarter of patients with Mallory-Weiss tears have no prior history of vomiting.

  • Excessive vomiting or retching

  • The diagnosis is always made by an endoscopy test (inserting a small camera at the tip of a long plastic tube), done in the hospital by a gasteroenterologist, allowing the physician to see the tears.

  • Conditions that cause excessive vomiting:

    1. Alcoholism
    2. Pregnancy
    3. Bulimia (a person forces themselves to vomit after each meal)

  • The majority of bleedings stop with conservative therapy in the hospital.
  • Putting the patient on intravenous fluids until the bleeding stops
  • Liquid diet after bleeding stops, gradually advancing to solids
  • Avoiding alcohol and other drugs
  • Medications to decrease vomiting are often prescribed.
  • The bleeding can also be stopped during endoscopy using electro-coagulation (i.e., heating and burning the tear until it forms a scar), or by injecting medications such as Epinephrine.
  • 5% of cases require surgery for uncontrolled bleeding.  Surgery is also indicated when conservative therapy fails.

  • This is a true emergency and you must seek immediate medical attention by calling 911.  Delay in treatment can be fatal.

  • Bleeding ulcers (i.e., damaged areas) of the stomach or the esophagus
  • Enlarged abnormal veins in the esophagus called varices











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