Mallory-Weiss tear

Mallory-Weiss tears occur due to violent projection of gastric contents against the lower oesophagus, which results in mucosal and submucosal tear with involvement of the venous plexus. The resultant clinical syndrome is known as Mallory-Weiss syndrome

Patients present with painless haematemesis.

Tears most commonly involve the distal oesophagus at the gastro-oesophageal junction. It is more common in alcoholics or after episodes of binge drinking, after repeated episodes of retching or vomiting.

On a contrast swallow study, there may be a leak of contrast.

A mucosal laceration without transmural perforation is likely to be occult on CT. However, CT images of the oesophagus many occasionally show evidence of haemorrhage or foci of extraluminal gas at a site of mucosal injury 2.

Unless there is persistent bleeding, the treatment like that of other mucosal lacerations, is supportive 2. Most patients with upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage from a Mallory-Weiss tear cease bleeding spontaneously and do not require specific therapy 3.

It was first described in 1929 by George Kenneth Mallory (1900-1986), American pathologist, and Soma Weiss (1898-1942), American physician 1.

  • Boerhaave syndrome: no haematemesis as there is complete transmural disruption of the oesophageal wall with blood escaping into the mediastinum
Oesophageal pathology
Share article

Article information

rID: 17379
Tags: cases, cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Mallory Weiss syndrome
  • Mallory Weiss tear
  • Mallory-Weiss syndrome

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Updating… Please wait.
Loadinganimation

Alert accept

Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.