Delayed Esophageal Perforation Following Lightning Strike

A Case Report and Review of the Literature

Patricia Figgis; George Alvarez

Disclosures

J Med Case Reports. 2012;6(244) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Introduction: Lightning is the second most common storm-related cause of death. The mortality following lightning strike is 10% to 30% and a large proportion of these people suffer cardiopulmonary arrest at the time of the strike. Much less commonly, solid organ injuries occur from either primary or secondary blunt force trauma.
Case presentation: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case report in the literature of an isolated esophageal rupture caused by lightning strike blunt force trauma.
Conclusions: Solid organ injuries are often underappreciated in lightning strikes. Blast injury to patients by lightning strikes should prompt clinicians to search for occult organ injury.

Introduction

Lightning is the second most common storm-related cause of death, exceeded only by flash floods. The mortality following lightning strike is 10% to 30% with a bias towards the reporting of fatalities. A large proportion of the fatalities experience either ventricular fibrillation or an asystole cardiopulmonary arrest at the time of the strike. The injuries seen in survivors include neurological phenomenon, cardiac dysrhythmia, vasospasm, burns, and tympanic and ocular damage.[1] Much less commonly, solid organ injuries occur from either primary or secondary blunt force trauma. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case in the literature of an isolated esophageal rupture caused by lightning strike blunt force trauma.

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