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Esophageal cooling device

Case contributed by Brian Gilcrease-Garcia
Diagnosis certain


Critical condition, in intensive care unit

Patient Data

Age: 60
Gender: Female

Abdominal radiograph


A broad catheter follows expected course of the esophagus, overlying the mediastinum and curving leftwards over the gastric outline at left upper abdomen. The nipple-shaped tip is more opaque than the rest of the catheter, and appears to bend against the inner greater curvature of stomach.

CT abdomen/pelvis


Corresponding to the plain radiograph findings, there is a large endoluminal catheter within the esophagus with tip terminating in the stomach.

Case Discussion

Imaging shows typical appearance and positioning of esophageal cooling device. 

Esophageal cooling devices are one form of temperature modulating device which allows for central reduction in body temperature. In the intensive care setting, temperature reduction may be done to achieve hypothermia (in post-cardiopulmonary arrest) or normothermia (in refractory fever).

These devices consist of a silicone tube with two water ports connect to an external heat exchange unit. Cold or warm water is circulated in closed circuit within the outer portion of the tube.

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