Mallory-Weiss syndrome is a nonpenetrating mucosal laceration of the distal esophagus and proximal stomach caused by vomiting, retching, or hiccuping.
Initially described in alcoholics, Mallory-Weiss syndrome can occur in any patient who vomits forcefully. It is the cause of about 5% of episodes of upper GI hemorrhage. Most episodes of bleeding stop spontaneously; severe bleeding occurs in about 10% of patients who require significant intervention, such as transfusion or endoscopic hemostasis (by injection of ethanol, polidocanol, or epinephrine or by electrocautery). Intra-arterial infusion of pitressin or therapeutic embolization into the left gastric artery during angiography may also be used to control bleeding. Surgical repair is rarely required.
Last full review/revision October 2007 by Michael C. DiMarino, MD
Content last modified February 2012