A 60-year-old woman from New Zealand, previously dependent on a feeding tube due to Boerhaave’s syndrome – a rare disease that damages the oesophagus, a digestive system organ connecting with stomach – was able to eat again after a successful surgery in Mumbai.
The syndrome typically occurs during an episode of forceful or repeated vomiting. The oesophagus tears and toxic contents leak out and cause infection.
Seven months ago, the woman experienced vomiting and chest pain, following which she consulted multiple doctors who initially misdiagnosed her with right empyema thorax – accumulation of pus in the pleural space between the lung and chest wall.
In March, she underwent two right thoracotomy surgeries, which involved making an incision between the ribs to access the lungs or other organs within the thoracic cavity. During these procedures, the chest drain revealed food leaking through the oesophagus.
“As there was a free leak of food contents into the chest cavity leading to severe infection (medically called mediastinitis), which has a very high death rate (up to 30-40% mortality), she underwent complete diversion of oesophagus and its disconnection from stomach. She was fed through a tube all these months,” the doctor said.
Dr Patankar Shares Details On Case
Dr Roy Patankar, a leading gastroenterologist and robotic surgeon at Zen Multispecialty Hospital, where the surgery was performed, said an endoscopy revealed a 5cm perforation (hole) in the oesophagus and her left vocal cord was also palsy.
Dr Patankar explained that the patient began eating five days after the surgery and was put on a full diet after 10 days. The patient said, “It was disheartening for me to believe that I would never be able to eat normally. Post-surgery, the overwhelming emotions that flooded over me when I took that first mouthful of food cannot be described in words as a feeling of joy and relief. At present, I enjoy my favourite foods without any trouble. Thanks to doctors.”