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Pneumatosis of the gastrointestinal tract is a rare condition characterized by the presence of air filled cavities in the gastrointestinal tract wall. Its occurrence has been described throughout the gastrointestinal tract from the esophagus to the rectum, however it is most commonly reported in the small intestine. Despite multiple case reports in literature, its pathogenesis still remains unclear. Pneumatosis may be idiopathic or associated with a variety of disorders namely peptic ulcer disease, jejunoileal bypass, intestinal obstruction and non-gastrointestinal disorders like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, infectious enteritis, etc. We here present a rare case of pneumatosis of the esophagus diagnosed incidentally at an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). A 78-year-old asymptomatic woman underwent EGD and colonoscopy at our hospital for evaluation of anemia. Few months prior to EGD, she had undergone excision of laryngocele at our hospital. EGD revealed extensive submucosal blebs distributed throughout the esophagus, otherwise unremarkable stomach and duodenum. Colonoscopy showed a tubular adenomatous polyp. Since our patient was asymptomatic she did not require any surgical intervention. Management of pneumatosis depends on the underlying cause.


Haritha Chelimilla, Jasbir S Makker, Anil Dev. Incidental finding of esophageal pneumatosis. World journal of gastrointestinal endoscopy. 2013 Feb 16;5(2):74-8

PMID: 23422740

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