Esophageal perforation is associated with high morbidity and mortality. In addition to surgical treatment, endoscopic endoluminal stent placement and endoscopic vacuum therapy (EVT) are established methods in the management of this emergency condition. Although health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is becoming a major issue in the evaluation of any therapeutic intervention, not much is known about HRQoL, particularly in the long-term follow-up of patients treated for non-neoplastic esophageal perforation with different treatment strategies. The aim of this study was to evaluate patients’ outcome after non-neoplastic esophageal perforation with focus on HRQoL in the long-term follow-up.
Patients treated for non-neoplastic esophageal perforation at the University Hospital Cologne from January 2003 to December 2014 were included. Primary outcome and management of esophageal perforation were documented. Long-term quality of life was assessed using the Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index (GIQLI), the Health-Related Quality of Life Index (HRQL) for patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) questionnaires for general and esophageal specific QoL (QLQ-C30 and QLQ-OES18).
Fifty-eight patients were included in the study. Based on primary treatment, patients were divided into an endoscopic (n = 27; 46.6%), surgical (n = 20; 34.5%), and a conservative group (n = 11; 19%). Short- and long-term outcome and quality of life were compared. HRQoL was measured after a median follow-up of 49 months. HRQoL was generally reduced in patients with non-neoplastic esophageal perforation. Endoscopically treated patients showed the highest GIQLI overall score and highest EORTC general health status, followed by the conservative and the surgical group.
HRQoL in patients with non-neoplastic esophageal perforation is reduced even in the long-term follow-up. Temporary stent or EVT is effective and provides a good alternative to surgery, not only in the short-term but also in the long-term follow-up.

© 2021. The Author(s).