Xiphoid syndrome: an uncommon occupational disorder
We report a case of a 45-year-old man, complaining of swelling and pain in his epigastric region for the last 3 years. According to his medical history, he had undergone various investigations and treatments for gastro-oesophageal reflux, without relief. He had had a history of chronic repeated microtraumas to his sternum during 9 years of working as a carpenter, as a result of placing wood against his anterior chest wall and pushing the former into a plank cutting machine. On examination, a tender swelling was palpable as an immobile, hard mass showing minimal protrusion under the skin on the xiphoid process. He was diagnosed as having xiphoid syndrome. We prescribed anti-inflammatory medication and advised him to avoid pressure on his anterior chest wall, especially on the sternum, while cutting wood. At follow-up, the symptoms were relieved. Xiphoid syndrome may be seen in people performing hard physical work who incur sustained pressure or friction on their anterior chest wall. The case emphasizes the importance of the occupational history as well as clinical and radiological investigation of unusual conditions as mentioned above.