Mallory-Weiss Syndrome

Overview
  • Mallory-Weiss Syndrome is the clinical sequelae of longitudinal tears of the esophagus wall usually at the gastroesophageal junction. Mallory-Weiss tears can solely affect the esophageal mucosa or can penetrate through the entire esophageal wall.
Etiology
  • Mallory-Weiss tears classically follow severe bouts of retching, coughing, or vomiting, all of which result in large spikes in gastric pressure. It is thought that poor relaxation of the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) combined with spiking gastric pressures may cause tearing of the esophagus at its junction with the stomach.
Clinical Consequences
  • Mallory-Weiss Syndrome presents with signs of upper GI bleeding which are typically self-limited but in certain cases can result in catastrophic rupture of the esophageal wall.
Epidemiology
  • Classically, Mallory-Weiss Syndrome is observed in alcohol abusers but can occur in any individual with severe bouts of retching, coughing, or vomitting such as those undergoing an acute illness.