Acute esophageal necrosis is a rare syndrome classically characterized by black distal esophagus with a complex pathophysiology that usually involves a combination of esophageal ischemia, gastroesophageal reflux and impaired mucosal reparative mechanisms. We retrospectively analyzed the main risk factors, clinical characteristics and outcome in all patients diagnosed with acute esophageal necrosis between January 2015 and December 2020 at our center. Ten patients were identified in a total of 26854 upper digestive endoscopies (0.04%). Most patients were male (8/10) and the mean age of presentation was 71.1 years. The most common presenting symptoms were melena and hematemesis and half the patients required red blood cell transfusion. The most common risk factors were hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, chronic kidney disease, peripheral artery disease, coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, heart failure and malignancy. Compromised hemodynamic state was the most common precipitating event in four patients. Other recognized precipitating events included surgical interventions, decompensated heart failure, gastrointestinal bleeding from gastric malignancy and methotrexate. Endoscopic findings revealed diffuse and circumferential black distal esophagus with abrupt transition at gastroesophageal junction and variable proximal extension at presentation. The 1-month mortality rate was 30%, mostly from severe underlying illness. In conclusion, acute esophageal necrosis is a rare cause of upper gastrointestinal bleeding that should be suspected in older patients with multiple comorbidities. Although associated with a high mortality rate, appropriate treatment may result in favorable outcome in most patients.
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