Mallory-Weiss Syndrome

ExitCare ImageMallory-Weiss syndrome refers to bleeding from tears in the lining of the esophagus near where it meets the stomach. This is often caused by forceful vomiting, retching or coughing. This condition is often associated with alcoholism. Usually the bleeding stops by itself after 24 to 48 hours. Sometimes endoscopic or surgical treatment is needed. This condition is not usually fatal.

SYMPTOMS

  • Vomiting of bright red or black coffee ground like material.

  • Black, tarry stools.

  • Low blood pressure causing you to feel faint or experience loss of consciousness.

DIAGNOSIS

Definitive diagnosis is by endoscopy. Treatment is usually supportive. Persistent bleeding is uncommon. Sometimes cauterization or injection of epinephrine to stop the bleeding is used during the diagnostic endoscopy. Embolization (obstruction) of the arteries supplying the area of bleeding is sometimes used to stop the bleeding.

  • An NG tube (naso-gastric tube) may be inserted to determine where the bleeding is coming from.

  • Often an EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) is done. In this procedure there is a small flexible tube-like telescope (endoscope) put into your mouth, through your esophagus (the food tube leading from your mouth to your stomach), down into your stomach and into the small bowel. Through this your caregiver can see what and where the problem is.

TREATMENT

It is necessary to stop the bleeding as soon as possible. During the EGD, your caregiver may inject medication into bleeding vessels to clot them.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have persistent dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting.

  • Your vomiting returns and you have blood in your stools.

  • You have vomit that is bright red blood or black coffee ground-like blood, bright red blood in the stool or black tarry stools.

  • You have chest pain.

  • You cannot eat or drink.

  • You have nausea or vomiting.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.