Curling's ulcer

Curling's ulcer
Curling's ulcer
Classification and external resources
DiseasesDB 3237
MeSH D004381

Curling's ulcer is an acute peptic ulcer of the duodenum resulting as a complication from severe burns when reduced plasma volume leads to sloughing of the gastric mucosa. The condition was first described in 1823 and named for a doctor, Thomas Blizard Curling, who observed ten such patients in 1842.[1]

These stress ulcers were once a common complication of serious burns, presenting in over 10% of cases,[1] and especially common in child burn victims.[2] They result in perforation and hemorrhage more often than other forms of intestinal ulceration[3] and had correspondingly high mortality rates.[1]

A similar condition involving elevated intracranial pressure is known as Cushing's ulcer.


While emergency surgery was once the only treatment, combination therapies including enteral feeding with powerful antacids such as H2-receptor antagonists or, more recently, proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole have made Curling's ulcer a rare complication.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Pruitt, Basil A., Jr., F.D. Foley and John A. Moncrief (October 1970). "Curling's Ulcer:A Clinical-Pathology Study of 323 Cases". Annals of Surgery 172 (4): 523–39. PMC 1397279. PMID 5311720. 
  2. ^ Bruck, H.M. and Basil A. Pruitt, Jr. (June 1972). "Curling's ulcer in children: a 12-year review of 63 cases". Journal of Trauma 12 (6): 490–6. PMID 5033495. 
  3. ^ Lev, Robert et al. (December 1973). "Stress erosions". Digestive Diseases and Sciences 18. 
  4. ^ Moran, K.T., T. O'Reilly and A.M. Munster (October 1987). "A combined regimen for the prophylaxis of Curling's ulcer". American Surgeons 53. 

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