What is the role of Mallory-Weiss tears in the etiology of upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB)?

Updated: Sep 01, 2021
  • Author: Bennie Ray Upchurch, III, MD, FACP, AGAF, FACG, FASGE; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Mallory-Weiss tears account for 8%-15% of acute upper GI hemorrhage. [10, 22] Kenneth Mallory and Soma Weiss first described the syndrome in 1929. [23] The occasionally massive UGIB results from a tear in the mucosa of the gastric cardia. Like many upper GI tract lesions, the Mallory-Weiss tear may stop bleeding spontaneously 85%-90% of the time.

This linear mucosal laceration is the result of forceful vomiting, retching, coughing, or straining. These actions create a rapid increase in the gradient between intragastric and intrathoracic pressures, leading to a gastric mucosal tear from the forceful distention of the gastroesophageal junction. [24] In 80%-90% of cases, this is a single, 1.75- to 2.5-cm mucosal tear along the lesser curve of the stomach just distal to the gastroesophageal junction. [23]

See Mallory-Weiss Tear for more information on this topic.

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