Mallory-Weiss Syndrome: Possible Link to Water Immersion and Subsequent Air Flight

Pikarsky, Alon J.; Zamir, Gideon; Rivkind, Avraham I.; Belzberg, Howard; Crookes, Peter
November 2000
American Surgeon;Nov2000, Vol. 66 Issue 11, p1083
Academic Journal
Mallory-Weiss Syndrome (MWS) lesions account for up to 15 per cent of upper gastrointestinal bleeding episodes. Typically these lesions present as a consequence of vomiting that is often associated with alcoholism. Recently other conditions such as pregnancy, migraine, hiatal hernia, gastric ulcer, biliary disease, and various medications have been associated with MWS. We report on a 32-year-old male who developed a MSW lesion after a prolonged period of swimming followed by an extended commercial airplane flight. The hemodynamic changes associated with swimming (increased central distribution of blood volume) and the pressure changes in commercial aircraft (a reduction of 0.3 atmospheres of pressure) are discussed. We conclude that the combination of these factors contributed to the development of a MWS lesion and gastrointestinal bleeding in this patient. We recommend that both air travel and athletic activities be considered as possible contributing factors in the evaluation of the cause of new-onset gastrointestinal bleeding.


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