Development of a Multidisciplinary Program to Expedite Care of Esophageal Emergencies

Mimi Ceppa, Carlo Maria Rosati, Lola Chabtini, Samantha M. Stokes, Holly C. Cook, Karen Rieger, Thomas Birdas, John C. Lappas, William Kessler, John DeWitt, Dean D. Maglinte, Kenneth Kesler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Background: Level 1 programs have improved outcomes by expediting the multidisciplinary care of critically ill patients. We established a novel level 1 program for the management of esophageal emergencies. Methods: After institutional review board approval, we performed a retrospective analysis of patients referred to our level 1 esophageal emergency program from April 2013 through November 2015. A historical comparison group of patients treated for the same diagnosis in the previous 2 years was used. Results: Eighty patients were referred and transported an average distance of 56 miles (range, 1-163 miles). Median time from referral to arrival was 2.4 hours (range, 0.4-12.9 hours). Referrals included 6 (7%) patients with esophageal obstruction and 71 (89%) patients with suspected esophageal perforation. Of the patients with suspected esophageal perforation, causes included iatrogenic (n = 26), Boerhaave's syndrome (n = 32), and other (n = 13). Forty-six percent (n = 33) of patients were referred because of pneumomediastinum, but perforation could not be subsequently demonstrated. Initial management of patients with documented esophageal perforation included operative treatment (n = 25), endoscopic intervention (n = 8), and supportive care (n = 5). Retrospective analysis demonstrated a statistically significant difference in mean Pittsburgh severity index score (PSS) between esophageal perforation treatment groups (p < 0.01). In patients with confirmed perforations, there were 3 (8%) mortalities within 30 days. More patients in the esophageal level 1 program were transferred to our institution in less than 24 hours after diagnosis than in the historical comparison group (p < 0.01). Conclusions: Development of an esophageal emergency referral program has facilitated multidisciplinary care at a high-volume institution, and early outcomes appear favorable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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