The predictive value of fruit juice in the esophagus-pleural fistula
Esophageal-pleural fistula is a rare and challenging condition to diagnose and requires strong clinical suspicion in order to be recognized promptly. Chest computed tomography (CT) with contrast medium for oral contrast medium (OS) is the gold standard for diagnosis. The definitive therapy is purely surgical, except for a few selected cases that benefit from endoscopic therapy. Our case involves a 45-year-old woman who came to the Emergency Department with dyspnea and thoracalgia. Chest X-ray and high-resolution CT showed empyema and pleural effusion to the left hemithorax. The lack of improvement despite the therapy and a subsequent clinical finding gave rise to the suspicion of esophageal-pleural fistula, confirmed with CT with contrast medium for OS. In this case, we opted for endoscopy correction of the esophageal defects. The diagnostic delay and the pre-existing comorbidities (previous kidney transplant for chronic kidney disease from lupus nephritis, high blood pressure, familiarity with Ischemic cardiomyopathy) could justify the inauspicious course of our case.
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