We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Symptoms of a Hole in the Esophagus?

By Marco Sumayao
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The most immediate symptoms of a hole in the esophagus are chest and throat pains and difficulty swallowing and breathing. The struggle to breathe might also lead to low blood pressure due to lack of oxygen. As a result of the difficulty, the heart might overwork itself to compensate for the inefficiency, leading to increased heart rates. Discomforting signs, like air bubbles underneath the skin, might arise from the flow of air through the hole. If left unchecked, the hole might lead to more serious medical conditions, such as mediastinitis.

A hole in the esophagus, also referred to as esophageal perforation, occurs through a variety of causes. The most common cause is direct injury during a surgical procedure. For instance, an instrument might slip during an operation on the throat, tearing a hole in the esophagus.

Another common cause of esophageal perforation is gatrsoesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Individuals with GERD experience chronic reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus. This damages the mucosal lining of the throat, eventually burning through the esophageal wall itself. Paired with such a hole, GERD can lead to severe medical issues.

Less common causes of a hole in the esophagus include violent vomiting or the introduction of a foreign object into the esophagus. Esophageal tumors might also lead to esophageal perforation. In rare cases, external trauma might be powerful enough to cause internal damage in the throat, puncturing the esophagus.

Patients with a hole in the esophagus will often experience neck pain, generally around the site of perforation. The affected area might feel stiff or might contain a lump formed from an air bubble. As the esophagus is a major passageway for both food and air, individuals with a hole might experience difficulty in swallowing and in eating. If the perforation leaks food or air into the chest area, the patient might also experience significant chest pain.

Introduction of foreign matter into the chest can lead to mediastinitis, an infection of the surrounding area of the chest. If this occurs, the patient might develop additional symptoms, such as fever and the coughing up of blood. The infection will also cause the area to swell, making it even more difficult for the patient to breathe. Complications arising from the infection might eventually lead to death. Since a hole in the esophagus is a major cause of mediastinitis, it is imperative that the condition is treated immediately.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon994356 — On Feb 03, 2016

I have a cough and a tightening in my throat chest and a horrible salty/sour taste in my mouth. I have a hiatal hernia, is it this. Although my doc has told me I have a chest infection and I'm on antibiotics with no success yet!

By anon291935 — On Sep 17, 2012

My mum had an esophagus tear during hip surgery. I don't know what is going to happen next. Can anyone please tell me if it is going to heal or not? Is there any other way to repair it?

By BoniJ — On Jul 05, 2011

Quite a number of people today suffer from GERD. Acid from the stomach erupts into the esophagus and irritates the tube. This wearing away of the surface of the esophagus can sometimes lead to a hole in the tube. Then serious symptoms begin to happen like struggling to breathe and swallow.

Medication, if used consistently, can be a help.

By live2shop — On Jul 04, 2011

I have never heard of anyone who had a hole in their esophagus. You do hear that one of the risks of surgery is being injured, but I never heard about a slip of the knife. I wonder why this injury wouldn't be noticed and taken care of right away during the surgery.

Another cause of a perforation in the esophagus can happen if a foreign object is swallowed. That made me think of the times in the middle ages when an invader came to conquer a rich city. People, who had valuable jewels would swallow them to prevent the conquerors from stealing them. I'll bet a low of those people ended up with tears and holes in their esophageal tubes.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.