The largest series of patients (n=10) with dissecting intramural haematoma of the oesophagus is described.The typical features, chest pain with odynophagia or dysphagia and minor haematemesis are usually present but not always elicited at presentation. If elicited, these symptoms should suggest the diagnosis and avoid mistaken attribution to a cardiac origin for the pain. Precipitating factors such as a forced Valsalva manoeuvre cannot be identified in at least half the cases. Early endoscopy is safe, and confirms the diagnosis when an haematoma within the oesophageal wall or the later appearances of a longitudinal ulcer are seen. Dissecting intramural haematoma of the oesophagus has an excellent prognosis when managed conservatively.