What is the role of esophagography in the workup of esophageal motility disorders?

Updated: Dec 29, 2017
  • Author: Eric A Gaumnitz, MD; Chief Editor: Praveen K Roy, MD, AGAF  more...
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Note the following:

  • Advanced achalasia produces a dilated intrathoracic esophagus with an air-fluid level. The classic sign is a tapering of the LES, creating the characteristic "bird-beak" appearance. Early achalasia would reveal a normal anatomical esophagus with loss of peristalsis and transient stasis just above the GEJ.

  • Occasionally, epiphrenic diverticula are noted immediately above the LES.

  • Hiatal hernia reportedly is observed in 10-20% of patients with achalasia.

  • In patients with DES, the classic esophagram findings are of a "corkscrew" or "rosary bead" esophagus. Pseudodiverticula and curling also suggest DES.

  • In patients with scleroderma esophagus, the esophagram shows a slightly dilated esophagus, weak or absent peristalsis, and free reflux often is demonstrated.

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