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Mallory-Weiss Syndrome

By Michael C. DiMarino, MD

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Patient Education

Mallory-Weiss syndrome is a nonpenetrating mucosal laceration of the distal esophagus and proximal stomach caused by vomiting, retching, or hiccuping.

Initially described in alcoholics, Mallory-Weiss syndrome can occur in any patient who vomits forcefully. It is the cause of about 5% of episodes of upper GI hemorrhage. Most episodes of bleeding stop spontaneously; severe bleeding occurs in about 10% of patients, who require significant intervention, such as transfusion or endoscopic hemostasis (by injection of ethanol, polidocanol, or epinephrine or by electrocautery). Intra-arterial infusion of vasopressin or therapeutic embolization into the left gastric artery during angiography may also be used to control bleeding. Surgical repair is rarely required.

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