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Esophageal Motor Abnormalities – Food Sticks In Esophagus

Beaded Barium Swallow Shows Spasms of Espophagus. Courtesy Quizlet.com

Beaded Barium Swallow Shows Spasms of Espophagus. Courtesy Quizlet.com

What Are Esophageal Motor Abnormalities?

Esophageal motor abnormalities are disorders of the esophagus involving altered muscular motility characterized by impaired esophageal peristalsis, or the progressive wave-like movement that occurs automatically when food or fluids are swallowed.

Q: What is altered motility?

A: Altered motility describes the lack of coordinated muscular movements or weak muscular movement needed to rapidly propel food and fluids through the highly muscular esophagus from the throat to the stomach.

The esophagus is a tube-like organ that begins at the cricoid cartilage (Adam’s apple) as a continuation of the pharynx and ends at the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).

The LES is a very strong, circular muscle surrounding the junction of the esophagus and stomach. The LES opens to allow swallowed food and liquids to enter the stomach and closes to prevent their travelling back into the esophagus.

Failure of the lower esophageal sphincter to remain tightly closed after swallowing allows stomach contents to reenter the esophagus giving symptoms of heartburn.

On the other hand, failure of the LES to relax traps the contents of the esophagus so that it cannot quickly empty into the stomach as it should. Because the esophagus is not designed to hold food/fluids, the abnormal expansion results in pain, anxiety and possibly vomiting and choking.  If the contents are aspirated into the windpipe upon choking, there will be coughing with attempts to clear it.

What Are Esophageal Motor Abnormalities In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?


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