Contact Us  |  Search: 
Printer Friendly VersionEmail A FriendAdd ThisIncrease Text SizeDecrease Text Size

Mallory-Weiss tear

 

Definition

A Mallory-Weiss tear occurs in the mucous membrane of the esophagus, where it connects to the stomach. The tear may bleed.

Alternative Names

Mucosal lacerations - gastroesophageal junction

Causes

Mallory-Weiss tears do not happen very often. They are usually caused by forceful or long-term vomiting or coughing. They may also be caused by epileptic convulsions.

The tear may be followed by vomiting bright red blood or by passing blood in the stool. Any condition that leads to violent and lengthy bouts of coughing or vomiting can cause these tears.

Symptoms
Signs and tests
Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

Repeated bleeding is uncommon unless there is also a problem with blood clotting. The outcome is expected to be good.

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if you begin vomiting blood or if you pass bloody stools.

Complications

Hemorrhage (loss of blood)

Treatments

The tear usually heals in about 10 days without treatment. Surgery is rarely required. Drugs that suppress stomach acid (proton pump inhibitors or H2 blockers) may be given, but it is not clear if they are helpful.

If blood loss has been great, blood transfusions may be necessary. Excessive bleeding may need to be treated by using an endoscope (see EGD). In most cases, bleeding stops without treatment within a few hours.

Prevention

Treatments to relieve vomiting and coughing may reduce risk. Avoid excessive alcohol use.

References
Bjorkman DJ. Gastrointestinal hemorrhage and occult gastrointestinal bleeding. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 137.

Review Date: 12/19/2008
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2009 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
MAIMONIDES
MEDICAL CENTER


Home Page
Why Choose Us
Donations
Website Terms of Use
PATIENT
INFORMATION


Visitor & Patient Info
We Speak Your Language
Patient Privacy
Contact Us
KEY
INFORMATION


Find a Physician
Medical Services
Maimonides In the News
Directions & Parking
FOR HEALTH
PROFESSIONALS


Medical Education
Career Opportunities
Nurses & Physicians
Staff Intranet Access

Maimonides Medical Center    |    4802 Tenth Avenue    |    Brooklyn, NY 11219    |    718.283.6000